Monorails and Satellites

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Monorails and Satellites
Studio album by Sun Ra
Released Volume 1, 1968 [1]
Volume 2, 1969
Recorded 1966, New York [1]
Genre Jazz
Label Saturn
Producer Alton Abraham
Sun Ra chronology
Strange Strings
Monorails and Satellites
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[3]

Monorails and Satellites, volumes 1+2 are two albums of solo piano compositions by the American Jazz musician Sun Ra. Recorded in 1966, Volume 1 was released in 1968 [1] and Volume 2 in 1969, both on Sun Ra's own Saturn label. The first volume was reissued on compact disc by Evidence in 1992, whilst the second record has yet to be reissued. The album showcases Ra's skills as a pianist, which are often compared to Cecil Taylor's;

'Monorails and Satellites, a 1966 solo piano recording, showcases Ra's unique style, which bridges the bluesy architecture of Jelly Roll Morton with the angularity of Monk and Cecil Taylor's ascent beyond traditional structure.' [4]

According to Ra's biographer, John Szwed, the title might refer to Stanley Kubrick's 2001, featuring a monolith that Ra remembered as a monorail, 'perhaps connecting it to his UFO experience'.[5] Both albums shared the same sleeve of disembodied hands playing a keyboard that seems to be plugged directly into Saturn.

Track listing[edit]

Volume 1, 12" Vinyl[edit]

All songs by Sun Ra except Easy Street;
Side A:

  1. "Space Towers" - (3.37)
  2. "Cogitation" - (6.36)
  3. "Skylight" - (3.59)
  4. "The Alter Destiny" - (3.08)

Side B:

  1. "Easy Street" - (Jones) - (3.38)
  2. "Blue Differentials" - (2.54)
  3. "Monorails and Satellites" - (5.36)
  4. "The Galaxy Sun" - (3.17)

Volume 2, 12" Vinyl[edit]

All songs by Sun Ra
Side A:

  1. "Astro Vision"
  2. "The Ninth Eye"
  3. "Solar Boats"

Side B:

  1. "Perspective Prisms of Is"
  2. "Calundronius"


  • Sun Ra - piano, and electronics on Astro Vision

Recorded at the Sun Studios, New York, (the commune where the Arkestra lived), 1966 [1]