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Quintessence - Dive Deep CD (album) cover



Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

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2 stars "Dive deep" was the band's last release on the Island label and, all in all, probably the best of the three. Not that that's saying much.

"Dive deep", "The seer" and "Epitaph for tomorrow" all follow the trademark Quintessence path of slow build up, with seemingly directionless flute/guitar jam/fusion before Alan picks up the pace and moves the songs on to a new dimension, all glorious feedback and wah- wah, over the pulsating rhythm supplied by the ever-faithful Jake, Dave and Shambhu. The lyrics are self-consciously devotional in a pretty shallow and puerile way.

"Sri Ram chant" is just what it says. The vocals (not supplied by Shiva) sound like your neighbour's cat on a bad night. But hypnotic and quite addictive just the same.

"Brahman" is a much more compelling and powerful chant where Shiva's vocals reach a wonderful climax above Raja Ram's insistent, cascading flute playing, providing a master class in vocal dexterity.

Which leaves "Dance for the One". To my mind, this is the stand-out track (once the archetypal rambling jam has subsided), with Shambhu, Jake and Dave delivering an urgent, relentless rhythm, Raja Ram's flute soaring and floating, Alan lording it with ear-bursting breaks on lead guitar, and Shiva displaying an absolutely stunning vocal range: no singer in the history of rock music can touch this man for sheer vocal power. This was Quintessence as I like to remember them: all dance, atmosphere and electricity. I may have been at an impressionable age when I saw them, but they certainly left their mark on me. Oceans of bliss, indeed.

This said, I wouldn't bother overmuch with any of their LPs. They all sold the band short. This was a band best captured "live".

Report this review (#41348)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This one had been the band's last of their three Island-records still featuring Shiva Jones and Dave Codling both having been fired late on. They carried here on more or less doing their typical ethnically inspired psychedelic rock presented in six rather simply structured songs. The opening title track, a straight forward pop song left me quite unimpressed but fortunately the quality of the tracks is gradually rising up after that one reaching its peak with "Epitaph for tomorrow". This one together with the final "Sri Ram chant" in pseudo-traditional raga style are the best tracks of this album. The remaining three songs are nice ones for a couple of spins though being not really elaborate compositions. It's in some way difficult to give this record a fair rating since it's not a bad one at all but certainly not on par with their first two releases. For sure I wouldn't recommend it as a starting place for this band but I guess it might be worth to be checked out by anyone who enjoyed their previous ones already. Still I'd like to rate it with 3 stars not without emphasizing that it might be only interesting for fans of Indian flavoured hippie psychedelic!!
Report this review (#103965)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink

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