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Shakti With John McLaughlin - Shakti with John McLaughlin CD (album) cover


Shakti With John McLaughlin


Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

3.48 | 53 ratings

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3 stars My first real stab at the Indo-Prog genre came from listening to a copy of NATURAL ELEMENTS from the SIUE library and walking away from it liking it. I never really followed up on getting any Shakti material until recently when the debut live album came my way. It's a good album, but there's one flaw that I'll approach later.

Shakti is the band that arose from the dissolution John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, a band that burst onto the fusion scene with tremendous fiery technicality only to implode upon itself soon thereafter. Technical based bands seem to only sustain themselves for so long. So, McLaughlin decides to take part in the raga music of India, and he assembles a team of Indian musicians to help him achieve his vision of his guitar skills in raga.

In a way, we have the end result of what the Mahavishnu Orchestra would sound like if it was a raga band with solely acoustic instruments. The main attraction is the speed-of-light dexterity from both McLaughlin and violinist L. Shankar (not sure if he's related to the late Ravi) that harkens back to the McLaughlin-Goodman trade-off solos of MO. Yes, these two instrumentalists are intended to be the main attraction here, but the percussionists are the ones that really shine in that they pin the rhythm down for the soloists to do their work, and their constant drive is what seals the good quality of this record.

However, this is essentially an acoustic MO as a raga band. And the fact that only ''Lotus Feet'' is under fifteen minutes is daunting to the minds of those who listen. The long runtimes kill the excitement of the music here, and the percussionists can only do so much before my mind starts drifting. There's only so much trade-off violin and guitar before everything bleeds into itself. I never was fond of MO going over ten minutes, and similar problems that plague long MO songs can be heard here.

Sinusoid | 3/5 |


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