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Irreversible Entanglements, 'Nuclear War'

Brace for impact, not that anything can save you: "Nuclear War," the apocalyptic, Reagan-era cult jam by the Sun Ra Arkestra, has found a potent new delivery system. Irreversible Entanglements more than doubles the original dimensions of the song in its incendiary performance — the title track to a new tribute, Red Hot + Ra, due out on May 26. (A previous single, Georgia Anne Muldrow's "Nuke's Blues," was released last month.)

"If they push that button," declares Moor Mother, with a grounding menace, "Your ass gotta go." There's little trace of the festive absurdity that Sun Ra brought to that line, which suggested a party at the edge of apocalypse. But just as the threat of nuclear deployment has screamed back to relevance, Irreversible Entanglements gives "Nuclear War" a heavy-gauge upgrade — shape-shifting in and out of a groove, but always rooted in the terrifying hypothetical at hand. Bringing Sun Ra's tune back into our orbit, the band creates a mutually assured apprehension.

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