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Kundalini - Asylum For Astral Travel CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.16 | 6 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars The Swedish trio KUNDALINI was the project of multi-instrumentalist Arne Jonasson who created this band to showcase his guitar talents in the context of an Allan Holdsworth type of jazz-fusion but he also added a whole list of Middle Eastern instrumentation as well with the bouzouki, saz, cümbüs,nychelharpa,mey, zurna and näverlur. The rest of the group was rounded out with Patrik Sundqvist on drums and percussion and Gunnar Olofsson on bass. The band released their sole album ASYLUM FOR ASTRAL TRAVEL in 1997 and then crossed over to the astral planes i guess since no albums followed. The music is almost exclusively instrumental with only "A Soul Is Like The Moon" having any vocals at all.

ASYLUM FOR ASTRAL TRAVEL is a collection of 20 tracks that adds up to over 70 minutes of music. Most of these tracks are fairly by- the-book type of guitar driven jazz-fusion most similar to bands like Tribal Tech where they take a syncopated jazz guitar groove and jam on it for a period of time however given that most tracks are around the four minute mark and absolutely none clocking in much over five minutes, for the most part it seems like the trio are only getting warmed up before the tracks end and off to the next riff like a meditation interrupted only to be followed by scattered brain syndrome.

The opener "Squirrel's Nest" sets the pace with Holdsworth-esque guitar riffing over jazz chords while the bass and drums obsequiously tag along showing who is the alpha musician of the pack. The addition of the exotic instruments is a welcome touch but unfortunately although Jonasson shows he can play them, he doesn't display that he has tamed them and the variety of timbres seems lost in the mix as they merely plod along as if they were an extension of the guitar riffs instead of finding their own voice in the musical mix.

My main gripe about ASYLUM FOR ASTRAL TRAVEL is that it plays it all too safe and always feels like the band is ready to break into something more interesting but just before they do the tracks end. This hunch is made ever more clear as the few moments when they do go for such as on "Ellington The Ruthless" and the avant-noise bass frenzy of "Pignoise" display that these guys are capable of much more than they let on. All in all this feels more like a demo than a bona fide debut album filled with passion and compositional prowess.

As musicians go, these guys hit all the notes exactly where expected with varying timbres ranging from Weather Report chilled slower numbers to more Tribal Tech rocking ones with dynamic guitar solos at a mid-tempo range but after all is said and done i feel there's a lot missing on here and that this is nothing more than a bunch of loose jam sessions that got truncated so that they could cram as many titles on to the package as possible. While KUNDALINI is aiming for much more than they accomplish somehow i feel that on their way to achieving enlightenment, they somehow got stuck on a lower chakra that needs cleansing before they can advance. I feel that perhaps with another album under their belt that this may have been the case but as a one off, this one just comes off as a good listen but not an outstanding one.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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