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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Visions Of The Emerald Beyond  CD (album) cover

VISIONS OF THE EMERALD BEYOND

Mahavishnu Orchestra

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.87 | 185 ratings

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Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'm going to put my experience with this group into perspective; I loved the first two Mahavishnu Orchestra albums and barely stomached the next two (the live NOTHINGNESS AND ETERNITY included), so I was hoping that VISIONS OF THE EMERALD BEYOND could be at least decent. Mission accomplished; I actually like plenty of what's going on here.

The group adds some funk flair, not just in the track with funk in its name (my choice pick), but in tracks like ''Cosmic Strut'' that employ brass tops which is new to the band. The orchestra is downplayed, only coming out for touches (except the short Opus towards the finish) to provide a security blanket, unlike the last studio effort in which the orchestra section were what drove songs. There's still interplay between McLaughlin and Ponty, and vocals appear far more often than before (notable in''Eternity's Breath'').

The first of ''Eternity's Breath'', the non-explicitly aforementioned ''Can't Stand Your Funk'', ''Pastoral'' and ''Faith'' are the strong tracks with the latter two bringing that beauty to an MO album we've come to expect at this point (unless this album is your first). The last four tracks seem to tie in some spaceship thing that Gong and Funkadelic did better even if JohnMac can make cool effects on the last track.

The real problem with me (this is an overall viewpoint) is that a band that is a collective of virtuoso talent and heavily dependent on that quality can only creatively sustain itself for so long. As is the case with MO, particularly since McLaughlin is the only person that has anything to do with their debut masterwork. I like that the tracks have shortened in length (not a fan of MO beyond the ten minute mark), and some of the pyrotechnics have subsided. But the band jumped the shark once the original lineup disintegrated in that it never was the same, even if VISIONS can get within earshot of earlier classics.

Sinusoid | 3/5 |

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