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Indo-Prog/Raga Rock definition

The private, metaphysical relations to oneself, to the other, the symbolism of existence are connected, transfigured by the particular expression of raga, classical India music. The emotion provided by this music is not only "affective". It's a real message, an aesthetic of the nature, of the divine, a virtue able to guide the listener to a state of emotional trance. In the mid-60's with the launch of international success of raga masters as Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan.European and American artists will become more and more captivated by the dynamical relation between mystical emotion, spirituality and music. The emergence of Raga schools from everywhere (still perpetuating the ancestral musical traditions), the initiatic travels of Western minimalist-modern jazz composers (Terry Riley, Don Cherry...) to India will participate to a growing interest for this musical universe. The emphasis on repetitive circular rhythms, ornamentation (gamaka), the use of acoustic stringed patterns, the sense of beatific endurance and lenghty improvisation are the central characteristics of this music in term of practice and sound aesthetism. Emotionally, the function on the listener is hypnotic, voluntary trying to reach him into a higher state of consciousness, modulating his perception of time and space. The basic conception of "drone" (continuous sound form) will be taken back in popular music and turned into "kosmische" electronica (70's Berlin underground). After Seventh sons' first original but rather discreet effort simply called "raga" (1964) and Malachi's holy music (1966), famous bands as the Beatles in "Revolver" (1966) and Traffic in their album "Mr Fantasy" (1967) will be seduced by the sonorities of Indian raga music. They occasionally incorporate sitar elements to their music. Among the most notorious artists who participate to the original dialogue between proggy rock and Indian music we can notice many jazzy formed musicians influenced by "world" elements (the guitarists Volker Krieger, Steve Tibbetts, the clarinet player Tony Scott). They are often recognised to practice a fusion between jazz rock harmonies and raga's instrumentations (tabla, sitar.). Among them Collin Walcott and Alberto Marsicano were Ravi Shankar's pupils. The world of "raga" rock can also include psych folk / drone-y bands (Quintessance, Fit & Limo, Flute & Voice, GHQ, Pelt...) and which are largely impregnated by mysticism, sonic meditation and sitar.

Philippe Blache

The responsibility for the psych/space, indo/raga, krautrock and prog electronic subgenres is taken by the PSIKE team,
currently consisting of

The responsibility for the psych/space, indo/raga, krautrock and prog electronic subgenres is taken by the PSIKE team,
currently consisting of

- Meltdowner
- siLLy puPPy
- Rivertree
- Tapfret
- HarryAngel746

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Indo-Prog/Raga Rock | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.33 | 75 ratings
Fertier's Clivage, Andre
4.10 | 130 ratings
Shakti With John McLaughlin
4.07 | 46 ratings
4.11 | 13 ratings
Zendik, Wulf
3.92 | 38 ratings
4.10 | 10 ratings
Hortob醙yi, L醩zl?/a>
3.91 | 32 ratings
Oriental Sunshine
3.87 | 43 ratings
Clark Hutchinson
3.97 | 14 ratings
Robertson, Don
3.94 | 15 ratings
Shankar, Ananda
3.93 | 15 ratings
4.20 | 5 ratings
4.25 | 4 ratings
Hortob醙yi, L醩zl?/a>
3.89 | 15 ratings
Cosmic Eye
3.82 | 28 ratings
Flute & Voice
3.93 | 10 ratings
4.33 | 3 ratings
Hortob醙yi, L醩zl?/a>
4.00 | 7 ratings
Hortob醙yi, L醩zl?/a>
3.85 | 16 ratings
Alford, Clem
3.90 | 10 ratings
Hortob醙yi, L醩zl?/a>

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock overlooked and obscure gems albums new

Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Indo-Prog/Raga Rock experts team

Fertier's Clivage, Andre
Ceyleib People, the
Brother Ah
Ossian / Osjan

Latest Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Music Reviews

 ...Truth... by ZENDIK, WULF album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.00 | 1 ratings

Wulf Zendik Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by ComaEcliptic

— First review of this album —
2 stars I have experienced weird music before, I love Univers Zero but this is just weird. I have to make my point clear, the album is avaliable on YouTube in poor audio quality but unfortunately this is just not for me. Sounds like if Zeppelin went totally, well, hippy music? I don't know. How can I describe this album other than weird? Its a fascinating album but just not something I appreciate, but I do respect it. Wulf Zendik was a very interesting person to read up on, a poet, novelist, and artist. Started a community, and when he died, his property was sold. He was many things, but personally I don't really like what is going on here. I don't think its worth going through track by track, just here by not my favourite genre to explore. Maybe Raga Rock just isn't it for me? I'll look elsewhere. I mean no insult to this music, I just don't particularly find this very compelling.

Collectors/fans only.

 Zendik - The Album by ZENDIK, WULF album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.66 | 18 ratings

Zendik - The Album
Wulf Zendik Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by bartymj

1 stars I don't get it. Sorry. Might be a poet and a visionary but clearly its beyond my tiny brain. It's an Indo-prog theme that doesn't get out of a doom-sounding first gear, and it sounds like someone has taught a goat to talk over the top of it. Nothing stood out for me unfortunately, and I listened to the whole thing in the vain hope that something would happen. Might need to be on an acid trip to get it. Was going to listen to another Zendik album but I'm dreading that now. Perhaps I'm committing some sort of prog blasphemy, because I often struggle with some of the less 'accessible' offerings out there, particularly in the Avant realm, but this I'm not sure.
 Songs From The Hydrogen Jukebox by THIRD EAR BAND album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1998
3.00 | 1 ratings

Songs From The Hydrogen Jukebox
Third Ear Band Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars A bizarre compilation whose history is perhaps more engrossing than its content, "Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox" is NOT the THIRD EAR BAND (TEB) precursor from the late 1960s with the same name, but more of an offshoot led by percussionist Glen Sweeney which recorded an 8 track album in 1972. In typical TEB fashion, it was shelved until emerging in 1991 as "Prophecies". That release seems rare enough, but 6 of the tracks were merged with 3 numbers from early 1990s TEB albums "Brain Waves" and "Magic Music". That of course leaves 2 orphans from the original album but I'm going to guess they weren't that different from the chosen 6, since they all sound pretty much the same. While bearing a resemblance to the TEB "Magus" album from the same period, which didn't see release until well into the 21st century, they unfortunately co-opt the dirge of that lost classic without the pre punk urgency that offset it so well.. It sounds more like the vocalist (credits not readily available) is reciting a form of existential poetry merely to give the bubbling jazzy rhythms something...er... under which to bubble. According to some, it bears resemblance to GONG's work should you find that a drawing card.

Luckily the remaining 3 tracks are more captivating. "Behind the Pyramids" belies influences of 1980s rock, boasts colorful wind instruments over an unwavering infectious guitar riff and sounds better with each of its passing 7 minutes. It definitely entices me to seek out the "Magic Music" recording as I'm curious how this instrumental managed to slip onto a vocal oriented collection by essentially a different band. "Dances with Dolphins" is similar but attenuated. "Water into Wine" finally closes the loop with a similar musical arsenal, a bit heavier on the percussion and with vocals that are entirely complementary this time, thanks to Lyn Dobson. It recalls earlier JADE WARRIOR or DAVID SYLVIAN, that is to say I'm quite delighted with it. So add "Brain Waves" to the list of TEB entries to sample. I guess this compilation has served its purpose!

In somewhat of a role reversal for lovers of early prog, the 1972 tracks are simply outclassed by the 3 from the 1990s. How often can one say that around here?

 The Magus by THIRD EAR BAND album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.44 | 13 ratings

The Magus
Third Ear Band Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

5 stars For every hundred-ish long unreleased archival recordings deemed lost classics, perhaps one can claim that honour. Recorded in 1972 yet lovingly sequestered for 32 years by THIRD EAR BAND piano/percussion and sound man Ron Kort until it was finally liberated, "The Magus" is that authentic artifact. Some sources imply that it was initially instantiated as "Prophecies" in 1991, but their only similarities lie in their vocal orientation, which makes them anomalies in the "Third Ear Band" discography.

Gone are the raga inspired lattices of earlier works, and, while Mike Marchant's DONOVAN meets ROBIN WILLIAMSON voice does assume lead, the oboe and recorder of Paul Minns, the violin of Simon House, and the drums of Glen Sweeny swirl about Marchant's fiercely lyrical narratives, vying for attention without a hint of clutter or selfishness. Synthesizer is introduced as organically as its acoustic cousins. The meters of the songs are most hypnotic, materializing as incantations, offering a glancing nod back to the band's origins.

Apart from the unfettered urgency of the delivery and the virtuosity of the players, "The Magus" is even more striking for the list of bands it could have influenced, and I say could have because herein lies the blueprints for punk, industrial, dark wave and neo folk music to name a few genres that didn't really exist at the time of recording. Yet all were well underway and, in some cases, interred, before "The Magus" appeared. In particular, I want to cite DEAD CAN DANCE and CURRENT 93 as would be benefactors. It's true that THIRD EAR BAND too claim influences, among them the Krautrock and the "Lizard/Islands" period of KING CRIMSON particularly in how they capitalize on flourishes of the wind instruments. But this is very much a sui generis of prog folk. It might be a challenge for fans of their early work to adapt to what is laid down here, which is deceptively accessible yet stratified with the same perfectionism that marked those earlier projects.

Where uniformity of mood and multifariousness paradoxically mingle, all 8 tracks are luminous, but I want to especially underscore the Native American sounding "Hierophant", the apocalyptic title cut, and the poetry and music of "The Phoenix". But "The Magus" is an opus, and any over emphasis on one part is mere distraction. Therein lies its wisdom.

 Music From Macbeth by THIRD EAR BAND album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.25 | 31 ratings

Music From Macbeth
Third Ear Band Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars If THIRD EAR BAND tends to be aggregated along with the progressive rock movement, the association has far more to do with their period of activity and tendency to experiment, though to a degree that most prog bands of their day could not or would not engage. I would add another quality that they share with the more prototypical artists of this period: elitism, and in fact their first few albums are projections of an exclusivity that relegated them to the commercial margins , though their debut did shockingly brush the lower rungs of the UK charts. More sound than music in the general sense, they, and perhaps most listeners, pleaded for a modicum of the mundane, perhaps a note held for less than 30 seconds followed by another note that belonged with the first. But alas, such was not to be...until they briefly transformed themselves into a stringy Anglo analog to GOBLIN.

It began with the soundtrack for a German made for TV movie, "Abelard and Heloise", and followed just 2 years later with their scoring of a score for Roman Polanski's "Macbeth", and then they inexplicably disappeared for almost 2 decades. The comparison to GOBLIN isn't just for the movie connection but for the morbidity of the motifs, depicted on string and oboe rather than organ, which imparts a demented and twisted atmosphere. This clutches the listener fiercely even without knowledge of how Macbeth yields to his innate and hitherto suppressed evil spurred by the naive and skin deep musings of his Lady.

The shorter track lengths offer a shred of accessibility as well, but this is still far from an easy listen, though the opening "Overture" does scratch that Gothic itch, and "Lady Macbeth" breathily heralds the relative vivaciousness of "Inverness". But it's on the trio of "Court Dance", "Fleance" and "Groom's Dance" that they actually sound like a medieval string and wind ensemble, or at least what I imagine one would sound like. Paul Minns' oboe is especially versatile, though it's his recorder that ushers in "Fleance" and swirls about the guest boy soprano Keith Chegwin throughout. This is a staggeringly lovely number embodying a spirit distant in time and place. Interestingly, others seem to agree based on the frequency with which it is conjured on streaming sites.

Unfortunately, the remaining tracks, apart from the "Going to bed" suite and the foreboding closer "Wicca Way" , offer a more soporific mix of the band's own tendencies while neurotically trying to avoid overpowering the scenes in which they are instantiated. This is a common issue with soundtracks, but, since so much of this one was sliced and diced by Polanski, I'm not sure there is a setting for, say, "Prophecies", that hasn't disintegrated in a landfill.

The remastered version has original takes of the three aforementioned centerpieces, none of which are especially different, but they do reinforce the significance of this path rarely trod by THIRD EAR BAND, and given up before it could flourish. But I suppose THIRD EAR BAND wasn't about compromises, and all told their rendering of Macbeth is no tragedy.

 Third Ear Band by THIRD EAR BAND album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.58 | 49 ratings

Third Ear Band
Third Ear Band Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Third Ear Band's second album is music on the border between the West and the East, between light and cultured classical music. It is instrumental music, from start to finish, played by a chamber musical ensemble, which has little to do with rock, except for the fact that some instruments such as violin or percussion are part of the Western rock repertoire.

The album, dedicated to the 4 elements, opens with Air, an impromptu suite with many due to improvisations mainly of oboe (Minns) and viola (Coff), while the tablas (Sweeney) produce a basic rhythm in Indian style very fast but that acts as a background carpet. Wind noise opens this first movement that looks like a jazz improvisation but the sound is completely different because it is conducted by the viola (and violin?), then at about three minutes takes over the oboe that dialogues with the strings in a continuous reference of dissonances that describe a landscape disjointed, very abstract, held together only by percussion, which give a constant basis to which the other instruments return after their overlapping solo scrolls. It is a magnificent piece and unfortunately the other movements (especially those on B- side) of the disc will no longer reach these heights. The piece will fade and again with the noise of the wind. Rating 9.

The second piece, Earth, is more synchronous between the rhythm of the tablas, which changes in speed, and the sound of the instruments. There is an increasingly sustained progression, a pause and a return of fast pace. More narrative piece, less abstract. It's like a folk dance but you can't say what kind of folk: Irish? Arabic? Chinese? Etruscan? Renaissance? We don't know. Another great piece. Rating 8.5/9

End of a wonderful A-side.

The B-side opens with Fire, which produces an orgiastic sound where all the instruments are engaged in high volume dissonances, we are close to the cacophony, you can only identify the odd rhythm of the tablas. The high notes of the strings and oboe are dubbed on both speakers producing extreme almost random dissonances that after a long time make it ardous to listen. Surely it is the most divisive piece, it seems a satanic ritual where you can just avoid paying attention to the ear (the third) and throw yourself into the dance by moving with your bowels. The ears may be annoying, the sounds are unpleasant, this piece should be taken as a tribal dance without listening to the single instrument but only the overall result. Frankly I can not love it, the more time passes the more I hope in a variation that does not arrive and then the song begins to annoy me for the endless racket. I recognize, however, that again the band has found an unprecedented musical fusion. Rating 7,5.

Water. Rain noise in the distance that bathes the fronds of the trees, soft sounds then come from the percussion of Sweeny, then it is the oboe (Minns) that leads the melody while the viola (Coff) occasionally doubles it and the cello (Smith) produces dissonances in the background. Quiet movement, without particular peaks or falls, is more than anything a variation on a dominant melodic theme with percussion to beat a rhythm in three times. Over time it becomes less and less melodic. Rating 8.

This is an essentially folk-fusion album, completely original and without possible comparison. It has an exceptional first side for both arrangement and music, which could make this album an absolute masterpiece of folk-rock (or chamber music?) but a much less successful second side where the arrangements are still sensational but the music is not of the highest level and then the record is takes "only" a 9+.

Five stars.

 Shakti with John McLaughlin by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Live, 1976
3.47 | 58 ratings

Shakti with John McLaughlin
Shakti With John McLaughlin Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars John McLaughlin has made another leap to a different direction teaming up with Indian musicians and masters in their field. Fiery violin could at times even remotely remind of Mahavishnu Orchestra.

The tracks, especially the last one, may sound overwhelming and going for too long even if soloing is impressive for all musicians. McLaughlin may not be well versed in Indian music with his playing but his dexterity and speed make up for it. Percussionists have ample moments in the third compositions which sound most authentic. This record will not appeal to a majority of McLaughlin fans but may appeal to new circle of listeners and won't disappoint Indo/Raga world music friends. However, it takes a few listens to be more appreciated.

 Magic Carpet by MAGIC CARPET album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 35 ratings

Magic Carpet
Magic Carpet Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars MAGIC CARPET were a British Psych-Folk band who - along with Quintessence - were one of the early pioneers of Indian- influenced Raga Rock. The band were led by Clem Alford, a classically trained player of the sitar, tamboura and esraj(?). The band released the self-titled "Magic Carpet" album in 1972, but broke up shortly afterwards, due to poor album sales. This rare album has since been described as "a jewelled crown in the treasure trove of psyche-tinged folk music", and deservedly so. It seemed as if the band had disappeared without trace until 1996, when Clem Alford got the band together again to record the aptly-titled "Once Moor - Magic Carpet II" album. A 1990's CD reissue of the first Magic Carpet album added the 20- minute-long "Raga" as a bonus track to the original twelve songs. Let's take a "Magic Carpet" ride to the Indian subcontinent now and have a listen to the album.

The album opens with the instrumental title track "The Magic Carpet", which sets the scene (and the table) very nicely indeed. Imagine, if you will, that you've just sat down and ordered a meal at your local Indian curry house. The waiter arrives with your chicken vindaloo curry and a plate full of poppadoms with a turban-headed man dressed in a dhoti robe playing away merrily on his sitar next to your table. That's the kind of hot and spicy image this music conjures up. The next track is like "The Phoenix" rising from the ashes because that's the title of the song. It's an uplifting song featuring an Indian tabla drum and we get to hear the beautiful lilting tones of Alisha Sufit for the first time. It's a gorgeous spiritual song full of radiant beauty and love and Alisha's warm and delightful voice will carry you away to a warm and exotic place somewhere in the distant land of the Raj. "Black Cat" is another lovely Indian-themed song, served up hot and spicy at your table. Alisha Sufit's dulcet tones are very reminiscent of some of Sally Oldfield's exotic songs from her first album "Water Bearer" (1978). We're still in the exotic land of a thousand and one Indian nights with "Alan's Christmas Card", a nicely laid-back instrumental guitar and sitar number, although there's nothing particularly Christmassy about it. This charming piece of spicy exotica will put you in a mellow mood with the sound of an Indian drummer gently tapping away on his tabla drums. Try not to get too laid back and fall asleep though because we're not even halfway through the album yet. It's time to gather in the "Harvest Song" now as angelic Alisha sings "You reap what you sow, You sow what you reap". Her mellifluous rich tones are part of what makes this a very special album indeed. We're still in the land of The Far Pavillions for "Do You Hear the Words", another hot and sultry sitar number to close out Side One.

A gong announces the arrival of "Father Time" to open Side Two. It's four and a half minutes of sheer delight with the ever- present sitar player and Alisha Sufit's charming voice bringing to mind evocative and exotic images of India. We're in La-La Land next for "La-La". There's no need to ask what the lyrics are about, because as you've probably guessed, the only "lyrics" are "La-La" repeated ad infinitum until the sitar player finally runs out of steam. It's still a jolly nice tune though. If you're not in a peaceful mood already, then you will be after the next spiritual song, because it's the Magic Carpet "Peace Song", which is just as relaxing and peaceful as the song title implies, so just lie back and think of India. It's time to order your "Take Away Kesh" now, because that's the title of the next song on the album. If you can't afford a trip to exotic eastern lands, then close your eyes and let this side order of Indian exotica take you there. It's time to take a trip down to your local Indian restaurant now on the "High Street", which, as I'm sure you'll guess by now, features a tabla drummer and a sitar player to entertain you while you dine on curry and poppadoms. You'll need something to quench the thirst after all that hot and spicy food, so take a good long swig of your favourite aperitif and have a listen to "The Dream", the final song on the album. Alisha's passionate and mellifluous tones are a real dream and delight to listen to and she's in unusually high voice for this divinely spiritual closing number. Wait a minute though, our magic carpet ride is not quite over yet, because there's the long bonus track "Raja", which is 20 minutes of heavenly sitar bliss!

"Magic Carpet" really IS an Indian "Jewel in the Crown". It's a hot and spicy spiritual adventure, conjuring up images of exotic and distant foreign lands somewhere in the Indian subcontinent. It's not an essential prog album, because it's not in the least bit proggy, but it IS an essential Raga Rock album. Give it a listen. It might just spice up your life.

 In Blissful Company by QUINTESSENCE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.32 | 40 ratings

In Blissful Company
Quintessence Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars QUINTESSENCE were a quintessentially English Psych-Folk band. Their unique brand of Indian-influenced psychedelic folk music came to be defined as Raga Rock. The London-based, six-piece band released five albums between the years of 1969 and 1972, beginning with the album we have here "In Blissful Company" (1969), and followed by "Quintessence" (1970), "Dive Deep" (1971), Self (1972), and finally "Indweller" (1972). There were also two later offshoots of the band, named Kala's Quintessence and Shiva's Quintessence. The 2004 CD remaster of "In Blissful Company" included two bonus tracks added to the original eight songs on the album. It's time now to cook up a hot Madras curry and settle down with the sitar for some psychedelic Raga Rock.

"Giants" opens the album with a real giant of a song. It's a four and a half minute long psychedelic freak-out, featuring not only the sound of a wailing acid guitar, but some wailing vocals too. Tune in, turn on, and drop out to this psychedelic blast from the past. In the immortal words of Austin Powers, "It's groovy baby!" Onwards now to the intriguingly-titled "Manco Capac", who, just in case you wondered, was the first governor and founder of the Inca civilisation in Cusco, Peru. This Lovely song is overflowing with Love and flower power. It's sensual, it's spiritual and it's a song with perpetual appeal 50 years on from its recording. Take a look at these inspirational and devotional lyrics:- "High on a mount in the sacred place, The Holy sun is born to the lake, He radiates his life - the sun's so, In water and cosmic energy the God's flow, And he is the spirit in the lake of time, His eyes are the Truth you seek, His face is blue wishing cloud skies." ..... Hallelujah brother! This spiritual slice of late 1960's psychedelia will take you on a cosmic journey along the free love freeway, without the aid of any psychedelic substances. Far Out, Man! Onto Song No. 3 now and "Body", another song drenched in swinging psychedelic 1960's vibes. If you're looking for fun and feelin' groovy, then chill out to this mellow and laid-back groove and dream about going to San Francisco and wearing some flowers in your hair. And now we come to an uptempo and uplifting number "Gange Mai". What's it all about you may well ask. Well, it's all about the sacred (but very polluted) River Ganges as these lyrics reveal:- "Gange Mai, The river, Gange Mai, Holy water." ..... Yes, that's it in a nutshell. It's a lyrical, spritual hymnal tribute to the Indian river and Hindu goddess Ganga. The title of the next song, "Chant", might give you a clue as to what to expect. You won't be surprised to hear it's a devotional song full to the brim with repeated chants of "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna", so you might be inclined to put on a robe and shave your head for this spiritual number. Then again, perhaps not.

Onto groovy Side Two now and it's time to get on the magic bus for "Pearl and Bird". It's an enchanting and entrancing, laid- back devotional groove, with the golden-voiced rich mellow tones of the singer inviting us on a spritual journey. This inspiring music is your ticket to musical heaven. Onto Song No. 7 now and the best-known song by Quintessence which they'll always be remembered for, "Notting Hill Gate", which just happens to be the district of London where the band originally hails from. This bright and lively, flutey psychedelic number was released as a single in 1970 and reached No. 22 in the UK charts. We come to the end of this inspirational and spiritual album now with "Midnight Mode", an epic 9-minute midnight mass, featuring a gorgeously-long flute solo. which Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull would be proud of. It's a song full of Indian mysticism and psychedelic guitar grooves. It's hippy, it's trippy, and if you're in the right kind of mood, the music will make you feel part of an ever-expanding, loving, joyful, glorious, and harmonious universe. Far Out Man!

If you've remained in blissful ignorance of this marvellous album for the last 50 years, then give "In Blissful Company" a listen. This beautiful, inspirational and spiritual album will take you on an emotional, mind-expanding, psychedelic journey of love and devotion. Who needs a dopamine high from drugs to reach the heights of spiritual ecstasy when you can achieve an emotional and devotional high with this wonderful debut album. "In Blissful Company" is indeed a blissful album, which is best listened to in romantic company. It's fabulous, baby!

 Hem錿 by HARVESTER album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.82 | 19 ratings

Harvester Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by south87

5 stars In 1969, International Harvester shortened their name to Harvester and released Hem錿, the second official album of the group originally known as P鋜son Sound. It is a natural follow up to Sov Gott Rose-Marie containing a greater focus on the droning and minimal improvisations that characterized the original sound of the band as PS rather on the short and pretty gems of the first half said album. Previously, listeners had only tasted the electric mantric jamming singular to the band in the form of "I Mourn You" ("How to Survive" being a dark acoustic jam).

Given the duration of Harvester's jams and the limitations of the LP medium, we see a problem that is to linger across PS/IH/TGS releases: the trouble of "fitting" long tracks on LPs like it where a puzzle, trying to achieve variety and length in a single LP. To acomplish this, the band had to cut the tracks and add the now classic fade in and out to succesfully include various improvisations in a single LP. As the majority of the pieces in the album feature this blurred beginning and ending, the feeling of eternity permeates the album. Coupled with the fact that the drone is ever present and the mantric repetition is the focus of the album, the result is very ambient and psychedelic sounding music.

As in the previous album, the sound is overall excellent, the bass is mixed in very deep and sounds great along with the drums. The rhythm section alone produces a great deal of heaviness through out the album. The heaviness of the record rivals that of the PS recordings. Previously not found in Sov Gott Rose-Marie are elements like wah-wah in the guitar, more "traditional" rhythms like the boogie, a constant participation of the saxophone and a less restrained sound overall. The vibe and style is very similar to the PS recordings and has much better pacing.

The first half of the album is presented as 2 couples consisting each of a short track and a minimalistic jam. The album opener is a nice and dronig song accompanied by acoustic guitars, falsely setting the tone of the album, one might think it might consist of varied material as in the previous one. It is clear that the track serves a prelude to the album and it fades out to the first minimalist jam. "Kristallen Den Fina" and its drone suddenly fades in and within the minute, its groovy rhythm is accompanied by the classic unconventional chanting of the band members giving it a sort of wonderful Dionysian touch, adding energy to the increasing drone. All band members are present and in full blast creating eventually a thick and heavy texture. As it was the staple since the time of PS, the music features slowly changing features and melodies maitaining the listener bewildered in its sonic landscapes. It is a fantastic track and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

"Kuk-Polska" and "Nepal Boogie" are the next couple. The former being traditional dance music rendered for a rock band format with wind instruments. The result is akin to that of a traditional town band in the middle of a festivity. As Bo Anders has stated in interviews, part of the spirit of the band was to provide organic music to every day life. A kind of true "electric folk music". The track as a result is very danceable and features quirky vocals in pure PS style. "Nepal Boogie" continues the grinding drones and monolithic rhythms with the band at full throttle. The saxophone relentlessly solos and wails over wah wah guitar and goes non-stop heavy until its gradual fade out.

In the original release, the second half of the album placed 3 minimalistic and almost equally long tracks together. The first is "Everybody needs somebody (To love)", a cover song that maintains a steady and groovy pace from start to finish. The vocals are not very discernable and overall the music doesnt reach the heights the previous tracks had though the formula is the same. The music is heavy sounding through out but doesnt really stand out. Bacon Tomorrow is a live track, probably involving some sort of interaction with the audience. It consists of a heavy and upbeat bassline grooving through out the track while ambient noises, clapping, wind instruments, chanting and saxophone interventions mold and change the atmosphere. The track is reminiscent of the PS recordings and is probably the least conventional of the album. Although its recording quality is lacking, it is evident the resulting atmosphere is something Harvester thought highly of and is overall more interesting than the preivous track.

The third track is "Och Solen G錼 Upp", another minimalist jam featuring crazy vocals that fades in playing the famous "India" motif. The track was edited as the shortest minimalist jam of the record at 4:50 and it builds up pretty quickly to its heavy climax and shortly after fades out and ends the album, sonically its great and follows the same mantric formula, but again does not reach the heights of previous tracks.

Again, the second half of the album could have been better if the title track was in place of the last one or "Everybody needs somebody (To love)". Once again, why such a great track was left as a bonus in place of not so strong ones is perplexing. The title track is the best one in the album. Featuring a singular droning psychedelic groove from the start, beautiful sax lines and excellent wah wah guitar accenting the hypnotic atmosphere, its Harvester sounding at their most fresh, at its most timeless and excentric style. The CD release of Hem錿 adds a transition between "Och Solen G錼 Upp" and the title track consisting of bird singings reminding us of the previous album. The CD version does indeed again aliviate a lack of a convincing close to the album and once again, balances it out, saving it from feeling forever incomplete.

There is no doubt that the LP medium was not intended for this band's music and to fit it, many sacrifices had to be made. The majority of these tracks where evidently much longer and we got only a glimpse of them. Of the original releases, the album is one of the most consistly minimalist and monolithic through out. If Sov Gott Rose-marie showed the enhanced version of the songwriting found in the PS recordings, Hem錿 exemplified a cleaner and more focused version of the mantric improvisations.

Being the last album before morphing into a more rock driven format, Hem錿 stands as a signpost, evidence of what was and what could have been. A true testament to psychedelic rock. The P鋜son Sound, International Harvester and Harvester recordings remain as the most eclectic and timeless albums of this group's history. Even with its few flaws, Hem錿 is an astounding release, documenting and offering insight into the unique and psychedelic jams of this incredible group.

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