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Taj-Mahal Travellers

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Taj-Mahal Travellers August 1974 album cover
4.21 | 32 ratings | 4 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc One
1. I (19:51)
2. II (21:27)
Disc Two
3. III (23:29)
4. IV (23:27)

Total time 88:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Michihiro Kimura / voice, percussion, mandolin
- Tokyo Hasegawa / voice, percussion
- Takehisa Kosugi / electric violin, harmonica, voice
- Yukio Tsuchiya / bass tuba, percussion
- Seiji Nagai / trumpet, synthesizer, timpani
- Kinji Hayashi / electronics
- Ryo Koike / electric double bass, suntool, voice

- Hirokazu Sato / percussion, voice

Releases information

Recorded live on August 19th, 1974, at "The Nippon Columbia Studio No.1", in Tokyo, Japan

Artwork: Michihiro Kimura

2xLP Columbia ‎- OP-7147~8-N (1975, Japan)
2xLP Aguirre Records ‎- ZORN52 (2018, Belgium)

2xCD Columbia ‎- GES-11491/2 (1998, Japan)

Thanks to Black Velvet for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy TAJ-MAHAL TRAVELLERS August 1974 Music

TAJ-MAHAL TRAVELLERS August 1974 ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TAJ-MAHAL TRAVELLERS August 1974 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
5 stars I thought I'd save my second review for one of my all time favourites. This appears on the famous 'Nurse With Wound' list of which I've heard about 90%. (The list contains around 275 of the most obscure, out there and and experimental bands you could hear before 1981). This certainly belongs on it. It sounds very similar to mid eighties Zoviet France who I imagine listened to this for inspiration.

There are no guitars, bass or drums. All instruments (mostly hand made and stringed) are fed through filters and effects creating a droning, swirling and weirdly surreal sound. 'August '74' doesn't sound dated at all and reminds me a lot of the atmospherics of Current 93, Schloss Tegal and Lustmord. It's really creepy and dark particularly when the dulcimer and vocals appear.

It's definitely their most accomplished work and a lot better than the dreadful 'Oz Days' album where the The Taj Mahal Travellers sound completely out of place with the other bands. This is a definite 5 star album in my books and probably in my top ten albums of all time. You'll probably have a really hard time tracking this down though - it's incredibly difficult to find nowadays.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars For them, everything is an instrument. For them, everything is alright. For them, everything is forever. TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS is such an outfit in Japanese psychedelic scene.

I suggest for them the words "recording" or "stage" should not be suitable. The recording work should follow their occasional play itself, and the stage should be the ground where they happen on bearing sounds. (That is, if they play to surf and ripples by chance, the seashore can be their stage I think.) So each of their "songs" cannot be copied again even by themselves - a once-in-a-lifetime one.

Anyway, their play is always lazy but perfect. Guess they should make "equivocal" arrangement before playing but once they set out on a performance, each plays free and improvised without any theoretical thought. (Well I always wonder why they play improvisational sounds together steadily and completely...are their minds only one?) And their performance itself can let them fall into a trance and fly higher and higher. The percussive stairway of Side C is exactly a typical example. In the latter half, loud and aggressive low tone noises motivate them massively. On that moment, TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS should go on a trip for the psychedelia beyond expression. There is nothing special or nothing persistent - only air or space is there!

They are not musicians. They are artistic creators. Listening to this "art" can notify you of this fact without any suspicion.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars The Japanese answer to Tangerine Dream's "Zeit". As the most famous German album, it's made of four tracks, one per side of about 20 minutes. The difference is that Taj-Mahal Travellers didn't spend their time in finding exciting title tracks. They are just "Side A" to "Side D".

Very spacey sounds, minimalistic but not dissonant as many psychedelia. So if psychedelia and space rock are two different things, they belong mainly to the second.

Listening to Side A you can imagine astronauts exploring a cave on an outer planet, or an abandoned starship encountered in the deep space. It's a music that could fit very well as soundtrack of a SciFi Thriller movie. Better than "Birth of Liquid Plejades". Something similar to a sitar, God knows what instrument it is, reminds us of the band's name. Also the percussions in the second part of the track add some indo flavours. Close to the end, some elephants or other wild animals scream in the jungle. We have suddenly been transported from Space to Earth, or at least on a planet full of wildlife.

Side B is spacey again. The "elephants" are still present, but the keyboards countinue their travel in the deep space. A string instrument, probably a mandolin takes the role of giving the rhythm if it can be called rhythm. It's a very unusual way to use a mandolin. The other sounds are mainly electronic plus something similar to a didgeridoo (electronic of course). Again, they remind me to Zeit.

Side C opens very low-volume, with percussions still in indian style but with "violins" and bells, too. there are positive sensations. It's like waking up before the day becomes too warm. The Asian flavour permeates the music. Closing my eyes I can see the Indo river flowing...well I didn't take anything, I just like creating mental images when the music is evocative. The bells have also a bit of "Barong" so instead of the Indo it could be a temple in the island of Bali. Then we move north to Tibet. It's like viewing postcards of the Far East. Sometimes it becomes a bit more chaotic, but still very evocative.

Side D starts with didgeridoo and voices, that means electronic sounds, with some percussive noises which lie low in the background. Edgar Froese's "Aqua" is a good reference. This is the base to which sometimes a keyboard adds and removes sounds. We are looking for small variations on a repetitive base. Going to the end, the repetitive base is replaced by percussions and a wind instrument. Here it comes back from space again and fits into psychedelia, but just for a while. The final part of this suite is very Floydian and reminds me to the minimalistic parts of Intertellar Overdrive, Saucerful of Secrets, or also some parts of "More".

My rating is between 3 and 4 stars, because not ALL the proggers are keen to have this kind of music in their collections, but this applies also the the early Tangerine Dream and to some krautrock, so I round it up to 4.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars TAJ-MAHAL TRAVELLERS formed in Tokyo, Japan back in 1969, while this particular double album was recorded in 1974 but released in 1975. They were a seven piece band with lots of percussion along with harmonica, violin, timpani, synths, double bass, electronics, mandolin, tuba, vocal expressions and trumpet. Despite all the instruments this is a sparse sounding recording with lots of space for the sounds to breathe for the most part. Sounds drone continually yet they somehow keep this interesting. It's hard for me to explain how they keep my attention throughout, but all I know is that I loved this right from the first listen. A big thankyou to Guldbamsen for his review of their debut which caused me to check these guys out. We get four side long tracks all clocking in around the 20 minute mark.

Side A drones in and out with different sounds coming and going throughout. Again I can't really explain the appeal for me other than it is relaxing and it makes me feel good. I do think this band had a gift when it comes to Psychedelic music. You would think the start of Side B was a continuation of Side A until it becomes fuller after a couple of minutes. Check out the vocal expressions around 6 1/2 minutes and 8 minutes in as the mandolin and so much more continues. A calm before 9 minutes that really continues to the end as it becomes dark and at times haunting.

The second album begins with Side C and we get percussion-like sounds to start and it's not long before spacey synths drift in floating over top along with other sounds. The synths stop as it becomes quite sparse with not a lot going on until before 7 minutes when the sound seems to build slowly. Some interesting sounds that we haven't heard yet after 8 minutes that continue to change and evolve the rest of the way. Side D starts slowly with percussion before we get some electric violin and electronics. Sounds eventually echo and without question the violin is featured here more than on any other song. It just doesn't sound like a normal violin and that's pretty cool. Check out the sound before 16 minutes. Nice. This continues for some time then it calms down some with vocal expressions late.

Transcendent is a word that is associated with the music of this band a lot and I have to agree. A lot of German bands like CLUSTER and the like from the early seventies certainly come to mind when I listen to this recording.

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