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By the time Brother Ah got around to recording as a leader in the early ’70s, the future D.C. resident wasn’t playing jazz so much as traveling the spaceways. Ah (Robert Northern) may have blown French horn for Monk and ‘Trane, but the psyched-out Sound Awareness and tribal-poetic Move Ever Onward sound more like the most accessible works by Sun Ra—another of the multi-instrumentalist’s former employers. Trailing every note, beat, and orgasmic moan with the comet tail of analog echo, “Beyond Yourself (The Midnight Confession),” which takes up the first half of Sound Awareness, either fell off the Arkestra or was ripped from the lost black-nationalist episode of Star Trek. The second half of Ah’s solo debut spares the reverb but thickly spreads some heavenly goodwill: “Out of the quagmire of self-hatred/Love, love, love!” Max Roach “raps” on the appropriately titled “Love Piece,” backed up by a ramshackle bunch of drums, gongs, and cymbals. Ah’s 1975 follow-up, Move Ever Onward, sticks with the vox-and-percussion approach, but oozes even more ’60s residue: “Listen to sounds around you/The sounds of the people/My people/Creating music through their natural movements in time,” one-named vocalist Dara chants on “Nature’s Children” over chimes and sitar drone. Though more poetry follows, some tracks move beyond mere words: On “Transfiguration” and “Sweet Illumination,” drums rattle randomly as the singers blurt tonalities like a saxophonist playing alone in the woodshed. Meanwhile, the nonvocalizing Ah is more catalyst than spotlight-hog, dropping French horn, flute, and “nature sounds” into the empty spaces, registering his presence without ever dominating the proceedings. Of course, Ah is just practicing what his band members preach: These records are more about positive vibes than any one person’s ego. And even if the music ain’t exactly sui generis, it’s pretty optimum for this kinda optimistic experimentation. —Brent Burton