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Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame CD (album) cover


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.27 | 889 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars In the beginning there was Hendrix and Cream, then there was Deep Purple and Zeppelin, then there was The Mahavishnu Orchestra.

This debut is just as raw as Hendrix and as loud as Deep Purple with all the energy and intensity. McLaughlin used odd meters and changing meters artistically and innovatively; they are not just additive or diminutive meters. The music sounds like it should be in 7/8 or 9/8, or that it should move from 6/8 to 3/4 to 5/8. This is probably the most dissonant album in the rock canon. How do you make a dissonant album? You start it off with a series of diminished seventh chords. Add angular melodies, odd meters and tritones; For best results, turn up the volume. The drummer should use a fiberglass kit and the guitarist a Gibson SG standard; McLaughlin had a double necked SG.

This album might just show the limits of analog recording; the tape always seems to be at the verge of destruction. McLaughlin produced the album. He sets each of the solo instruments, guitar, Moog and violin, in a separate channel; the guitar is in the middle, Moog to the right and violin to the left. (It sounded better when the band moved the Moog to the center for the subsequent album.) There is so much dissonance and distortion that the album comes off like a onslaught of passion that does not let up until the tone arm retracts the needle.

Some of the great moments are "Noonward Race," which starts with a drum-guitar duet, a la Coltrane, and "Vital Transformation" in 9/8. Cobham seems to be able to handle any meter McLaughlin gives him with precision and clarity. I'll leave "Dance of the Maya' up to you to figure out. This was the original album that birthed a movement. It influenced King Crimson, that's why they got the violin, Jeff Beck, who later played with Jan Hammer and Dixie Dregs.

I have no problem giving this album five stars, but the meek should beware. This axe is bolder than love.

| 5/5 |


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