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Shakti With John McLaughlin - Natural Elements CD (album) cover


Shakti With John McLaughlin


Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

4.15 | 122 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Weird, Acoustic, Percussive, Mediative, what else?!

Natural Elements is one of a kind, well surely Indo Prog is one of a kind actually. Natural Elements brings you a whole different view/perception of what you thought Prog was about, with percussive instruments of the east side of the world, with a lot of mood variations and virtuosity to pull out the trigger for those McLaughlin lovers.

Impressive percussion goes for the following songs: Mind Ecology with it's unique percussive climax, John's acoustic virtuosity and L. Shankar's dissonant/beautiful violin, demonstrates a new side of John, as well as the already mentioned, new side of Prog. Definitely Mind Ecology is one of the album's finest songs.

Face to Face shows a mellower band, still with L. Shankar's violin which can hurt after a few dosis, you have another very impressive, though different, rythm section which really is what this song is about along with John's mellow guitar(acoustic) chords, which are impossible to get bored of, with such energy full-filled in them(the chords). The song besides from the instrumental cleverness, has a very mediative feel to it, which makes the song unique, as well as being another positive aspect of the song.

Indo Prog Rocks?: Well The Daffodil and the Eagle apparently says yes. While no electric guitar, nor drums, nor nothing from the Rock realm, the song has a bluesy rock feel to it, in which develops to some type of Mahavishnu sort of song just in Indo Prog format. Having shocking guitar solos, with a melodic violin throughout the song, and a very reliable rythm section which changes constantly depending on the tempo of the guitar solo or violin.

Calm and Beautiful: These tags are won by Bridge of Sighs, with a gentle rythm all through the song(no kidding) with a ''stay-in-tune'' violin(believe it or not) creating some oriental-flavoured melodies, finally with John's mightiness on the acoustic guitar, though in this song each note/chord are totally delightful, rather than the typical fiereful and frantic solos like in general, while being impressive, they don't bring the kind of impression as in this song does.

Peace of Mind also wins those tags, and I think those tags suite even better with this one. A wonderful ending, soft, magical, as well as emotive. Like the first notes of And You and I or Turn of the Century by Yes, John and L. Shankar create the word BEAUTY with this song(musically). There's no percussion, so the climax is completely calm to create such magical essence, which will soon dissapear because the song only lasts 3 minutes, still they're sufficient to make you cry or at least feel such emotive energy run through your veins.

As the first word of my review, WEIRD. A weird album indeed, through frantic acoustic guitar runs to percussive enlightment to odd melodies of the middle-east to emotiveness. A completely eclectic album on the moods side.

John McLaughlin shows you once again that he's one of the most versatile guitarists around. Honorable mention to the highly impressive unique percussion section of T.H. Vinayakaram and Zakir Hussain. L. Shankar's violin as I already mentioned, is not a easy listen, still worthwhile at many times, specially on the last song of the album.

4 stars. Want to know what Indo Prog sounds like? Without doubt pick this up.

The Quiet One | 4/5 |


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