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Sun Ra Marathon: Space is the Place // Angels & Demons // Kamau Patton // The Magic Sun + special materials from the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection

Thursday, April 25, 20246:00 pm
$35 advance$40 doors$30 Student/Senior (w/ ID, Senior 65+)doors 5:30pm

Roulette, in collaboration with Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago, enthusiastically presents an evening celebrating the work of Sun Ra and his enormous influence on the creative music community through an extended marathon event.

Sun Ra Marathon will feature a 50th anniversary screening of the classic Sun Ra film Space is The Placeperformances and screenings of Sun Ra related projects by Angels & Demons (Darius Jones / Amirtha Kidambi) and Kamau Patton (premiering his new piece: Sekhet Hetepu), plus special screenings of archival films and videos from the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago—including Phill Niblock’s experimental film of the Arkestra The Magic Sun, rarely seen archival interview and performance footage, music videos created by Sun Ra and the Arkestra in collaboration with Bill Sebastian and his “visual music instrument” (the OVC), a rare audio recording of one of Sun Ra’s UC Berkeley lectures, and more!

Full schedule TBA.

Roulette would like to thank Experimental Sound Studio, Kamau Patton, Amirtha Kidambi, Darius Jones, Irwin Chusid, Jim Newman, the Criterion Collection, and Janus Films for their contributions to this special event, proceeds of which will go to benefit music, movement, and media at Roulette.


Space is The Place – John Coney, 1974 — Avant-jazz mystic Sun Ra brought his pioneering Afrofuturist vision to the screen with this film version of his concept album. It’s a wild, kaleidoscopic whirl of science fiction, sharp social commentary, goofy pseudo-blaxploitation stylistics, and thrilling concert performance, in which the pharaonic Ra and his Arkestra lead an intergalactic movement to resettle the Black race on their utopian space colony.
Longtime collaborators Amirtha Kidambi (voice) and Darius Jones (alto sax) join sonic and compositional forces to materialize “Angels and Demons,” musical adaptations of cosmological writings by iconic composer and bandleader Sun Ra. The duo formed to honor the intellectual, literary, and spiritual contribution of Sun Ra as a philosopher and teacher. Dancing between Ra’s prophetic poetic verse, abstract phonemes, and syllables, sound, noise, tone, melody and rhythmic interplay, Jones and Kidambi use their unique compositional and improvisatory voices to amplify Ra’s poetry to contemporary audiences.
Kamau Amu Patton is a media artist who lives and works in Brooklyn and Chicago. Patton’s work engages archives, documents, networks, and sites. His projects are immersive constructs and take form as expanded-field, intermedia structures. His works are temporary architectures made solid through attention, always becoming, continuing, and undergoing transformation. In 2020 Patton was Archive Artist in Residence at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. Utilizing recordings from the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection, Patton created The Past & Other Dreams, a double cassette produced by the artist in collaboration with the Creative Audio Archive at ESS. A box set LP of Patton’s arrangements of Terry Adkins’s Lone Wolf Recital Corps, Second Mind | Alto Age, was released in partnership with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in 2021. In 2022, Patton performed new sound compositions at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn and Basilica Arts in Hudson New York. In 2023, Patton performed, Dromeostasis: Input/Output, a daylong performance, activating Stan VanDerBeek’s installation Movie-Drome (1964–65) at the Museum of Modern Art during the exhibition Signals: How Video Transformed the World.
Phill Niblock (1933-2024) was an influential intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video and computers. In the 1960’s, Phill collaborated with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, creating real-time film projections to accompany the band’s live performances, which eventually led to the creation of The Magic Sun, an experimental film shot at Sun Ra’s apartment.
Bill Sebastian: Back in the 1970’s, Bill developed the Outer Space Visual Communicator (OVC), a visual music instrument that generated images on a custom-built display. Performances were given at various theatres in Boston and New York with the Sun Ra Arkestra and other musicians. This was followed by the development of equipment to map video images of the OVC into custom built video effects and processing devices and production of videos with Sun Ra and other musicians. Magazine articles about the OVC as well as pictures, videos, and technical details are available on the OVC page. Music videos for “Calling Planet Earth” and “Sunset on The River Nile” were created in 1986 when the Arkestra spent a week at Mission Control Studios where the OVC-2D was set up, are featured in this event.
The Creative Audio Archive (CAA) is a Chicago based center for the preservation and investigation of innovative and experimental sonic arts and music. CAA is an initiative of the Experimental Sound Studio (ESS), a non-profit sonic arts organization founded in 1986 for the production, promotion, and preservation of innovative approaches to the sonic arts, including music in its many forms, audio art, radio art, sound poetry, sound installation, and intermedia, performative, and cinematic disciplines in which sound is a major component.
The SUN RA/EL SATURN COLLECTION within the CAA at ESS, consists of approximately 600 tapes dating from the 1950s-1993 that represent the work of iconoclastic composer and bandleader Sun Ra. The recordings provide a unique documentation of Sun Ra’s creative process, including his work with the Arkestra and its offshoots, vocal groups in Chicago, legendary trumpeter/composer Hobart Dotson, and African percussionists in New York. The collection consists of rehearsal tapes, recordings of live concerts, home recordings of sketches and experiments, and master tapes of material likely intended for commercial release. A number of tapes include lectures and recitations by Ra of original unpublished texts, which offer rare insight into his unique philosophy and a broader context for his musical ideas.
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Images as follows:

1-5 – film stills from Space is the Place, John Coney, courtesy of Janus Films

6 – color lithograph poster for the film Space is the Place, by North American Star System Production, courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

7 – Darius Jones in Amirtha Kidambi and Darius Jones: Angels & Demons. Performance view, The Kitchen at Westbeth, New York, December 9, 2023. Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

8 – Kamau Patton. Performance view, Roulette – Mixology Festival 2022. Photo by Matt Mehlan

9 – SR-R149 / Reel 179 of the Sun Ra / El Saturn Collection, courtesy of ESS, Chicago

10 – A copy of Phill Niblock’s film The Magic Sun, from the Sun Ra / El Saturn Collection, featuring Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Photo by Matt Mehlan, courtesy of ESS, Chicago

11, 12 – Video stills from “Calling Planet Earth” by Sun Ra and his Arkestra and Bill Sebastian featuring the OVC

Sun Ra Marathon: Space is the Place // Angels & Demons // Kamau Patton // The Magic Sun + special materials from the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection

Thursday, April 25, 20246:00 pm
$35 advance$40 doors$30 Student/Senior (w/ ID, Senior 65+)doors 5:30pm

Roulette, in collaboration with Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago, enthusiastically presents an evening celebrating the work of Sun Ra and his enormous influence on the creative music community through an extended marathon event.

Sun Ra Marathon will feature a 50th anniversary screening of the classic Sun Ra film Space is The Placeperformances and screenings of Sun Ra related projects by Angels & Demons (Darius Jones / Amirtha Kidambi) and Kamau Patton (premiering his new piece: Sekhet Hetepu), plus special screenings of archival films and videos from the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago—including Phill Niblock’s experimental film of the Arkestra The Magic Sun, rarely seen archival interview and performance footage, music videos created by Sun Ra and the Arkestra in collaboration with Bill Sebastian and his “visual music instrument” (the OVC), a rare audio recording of one of Sun Ra’s UC Berkeley lectures, and more!

Full schedule TBA.

Roulette would like to thank Experimental Sound Studio, Kamau Patton, Amirtha Kidambi, Darius Jones, Irwin Chusid, Jim Newman, the Criterion Collection, and Janus Films for their contributions to this special event, proceeds of which will go to benefit music, movement, and media at Roulette.


Space is The Place – John Coney, 1974 — Avant-jazz mystic Sun Ra brought his pioneering Afrofuturist vision to the screen with this film version of his concept album. It’s a wild, kaleidoscopic whirl of science fiction, sharp social commentary, goofy pseudo-blaxploitation stylistics, and thrilling concert performance, in which the pharaonic Ra and his Arkestra lead an intergalactic movement to resettle the Black race on their utopian space colony.
Longtime collaborators Amirtha Kidambi (voice) and Darius Jones (alto sax) join sonic and compositional forces to materialize “Angels and Demons,” musical adaptations of cosmological writings by iconic composer and bandleader Sun Ra. The duo formed to honor the intellectual, literary, and spiritual contribution of Sun Ra as a philosopher and teacher. Dancing between Ra’s prophetic poetic verse, abstract phonemes, and syllables, sound, noise, tone, melody and rhythmic interplay, Jones and Kidambi use their unique compositional and improvisatory voices to amplify Ra’s poetry to contemporary audiences.
Kamau Amu Patton is a media artist who lives and works in Brooklyn and Chicago. Patton’s work engages archives, documents, networks, and sites. His projects are immersive constructs and take form as expanded-field, intermedia structures. His works are temporary architectures made solid through attention, always becoming, continuing, and undergoing transformation. In 2020 Patton was Archive Artist in Residence at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. Utilizing recordings from the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection, Patton created The Past & Other Dreams, a double cassette produced by the artist in collaboration with the Creative Audio Archive at ESS. A box set LP of Patton’s arrangements of Terry Adkins’s Lone Wolf Recital Corps, Second Mind | Alto Age, was released in partnership with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in 2021. In 2022, Patton performed new sound compositions at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn and Basilica Arts in Hudson New York. In 2023, Patton performed, Dromeostasis: Input/Output, a daylong performance, activating Stan VanDerBeek’s installation Movie-Drome (1964–65) at the Museum of Modern Art during the exhibition Signals: How Video Transformed the World.
Phill Niblock (1933-2024) was an influential intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video and computers. In the 1960’s, Phill collaborated with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, creating real-time film projections to accompany the band’s live performances, which eventually led to the creation of The Magic Sun, an experimental film shot at Sun Ra’s apartment.
Bill Sebastian: Back in the 1970’s, Bill developed the Outer Space Visual Communicator (OVC), a visual music instrument that generated images on a custom-built display. Performances were given at various theatres in Boston and New York with the Sun Ra Arkestra and other musicians. This was followed by the development of equipment to map video images of the OVC into custom built video effects and processing devices and production of videos with Sun Ra and other musicians. Magazine articles about the OVC as well as pictures, videos, and technical details are available on the OVC page. Music videos for “Calling Planet Earth” and “Sunset on The River Nile” were created in 1986 when the Arkestra spent a week at Mission Control Studios where the OVC-2D was set up, are featured in this event.
The Creative Audio Archive (CAA) is a Chicago based center for the preservation and investigation of innovative and experimental sonic arts and music. CAA is an initiative of the Experimental Sound Studio (ESS), a non-profit sonic arts organization founded in 1986 for the production, promotion, and preservation of innovative approaches to the sonic arts, including music in its many forms, audio art, radio art, sound poetry, sound installation, and intermedia, performative, and cinematic disciplines in which sound is a major component.
The SUN RA/EL SATURN COLLECTION within the CAA at ESS, consists of approximately 600 tapes dating from the 1950s-1993 that represent the work of iconoclastic composer and bandleader Sun Ra. The recordings provide a unique documentation of Sun Ra’s creative process, including his work with the Arkestra and its offshoots, vocal groups in Chicago, legendary trumpeter/composer Hobart Dotson, and African percussionists in New York. The collection consists of rehearsal tapes, recordings of live concerts, home recordings of sketches and experiments, and master tapes of material likely intended for commercial release. A number of tapes include lectures and recitations by Ra of original unpublished texts, which offer rare insight into his unique philosophy and a broader context for his musical ideas.

Images as follows:

1-5 – film stills from Space is the Place, John Coney, courtesy of Janus Films

6 – color lithograph poster for the film Space is the Place, by North American Star System Production, courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

7 – Darius Jones in Amirtha Kidambi and Darius Jones: Angels & Demons. Performance view, The Kitchen at Westbeth, New York, December 9, 2023. Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

8 – Kamau Patton. Performance view, Roulette – Mixology Festival 2022. Photo by Matt Mehlan

9 – SR-R149 / Reel 179 of the Sun Ra / El Saturn Collection, courtesy of ESS, Chicago

10 – A copy of Phill Niblock’s film The Magic Sun, from the Sun Ra / El Saturn Collection, featuring Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Photo by Matt Mehlan, courtesy of ESS, Chicago

11, 12 – Video stills from “Calling Planet Earth” by Sun Ra and his Arkestra and Bill Sebastian featuring the OVC

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