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Quintessence In Blissful Company album cover
3.29 | 36 ratings | 6 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Giants (4:37)
2. Manco Capac (5:17)
3. Body (3:34)
4. Gange Mai (4:00)
5. Chant (3:02)
6. Pearl And Bird (3:57)
7. Notting Hill Gate (4:38)
8. Midnight Mode (9:15)

Total time 38:20

Bonus tracks on 2004 remaster:
9. Notting Hill Gate (Single version - Mono) (2:31)
10. Move Into The Light (Single - Mono) (3:26)

Line-up / Musicians

- Shiva Shankar Jones / lead vocals, keyboards
- Allan Mostert / lead guitar
- Maha Dev (Dave Codling) / rhythm guitar
- Raja Ram (Ronald Rothfield) / flute, bells, percussion, scraper
- Sambhu Babaji (Richard Vaughan) / bass
- Jake Milton / drums, percussion

- John Barham / arrangements (5), musical director, producer
- Mike / sitar
- Surya / tamboura

Releases information

Artwork: Gopala

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS-9110 Q (1969, UK)
LP Tapestry Records ‎- TPT 237 (2007, Liechtenstein)

CD Repertoire Records ‎- REPUK 1009 (2004, UK) Remastered by Eroc with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy QUINTESSENCE In Blissful Company Music

In Blissful CompanyIn Blissful Company
Repertoire 2004
$19.92 (used)
In Blissful Company by QUINTESSENCE (2003-11-25)In Blissful Company by QUINTESSENCE (2003-11-25)

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QUINTESSENCE In Blissful Company ratings distribution

(36 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

QUINTESSENCE In Blissful Company reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
3 stars Standing in the shadow of bands like Floyd or Procol and emerging in the late sixties hippie underground scene heavily inspired by Indian culture this wonderful band has been all too often overlooked and underestimated. But in some way they had been far ahead their times in what they were doing and might be considered highly influential for what would be known many years after as world or new age music (as Chris Welch, busy for MM in those days pointed out in his liner notes for the CD re-release). In fact those guys had been brought together by an announcement in Melody Maker magazine and lead vocals of Australian born Phil Jones (aka Shiva Shankar) as well as the delightful flute play of Ronald Rothfield (aka Raja Ram) should become characteristic for their sound. The line-up had been completed by Alan Mostert on lead guitar, Dave Codling (aka Maha Dev) on rhythm guitar, Sambhu Babaji playing bass and Jeremy "Jake" Milton on drums. Soon after their foundation the band signed to Island Records later better known for hosting bands like Jethro Tull for example. Picking up eastern influences in the music of the "Fav Four" inspired by Harrison's India trips and reinforcing the general fashionable trend of late sixties psychedelic bands they created a kind of perfect "quintessence" of western pop/rock/jazz and Indian raga music. Though they've been mainly attracted by Hinduisms also spiritual influences by Buddhism and Christianity can be found in their songs. During their heyday they managed to fill places like the Royal Albert Hall with their splendid concerts and they also played at the prestigious Montreaux Jazz Festival.

The balance between east and west in their music used to be shifted more in favour of western influences making it quite approachable for people being not that much familiar with Indian classical spiritual music. This applies even stronger in the case of their remarkable debut from 1969 here in review. In fact there's only one traditional chant on here with track no. 5 titled not so imaginatively as such. The opener "Giants" presents a nice blend of song-based Indian flavoured psychedelic pop and some more jam-oriented elements and one can easily imagine that this song might have inspired contemporary bands like Ozric Tentacles as well as some more commercially directed one like Cornershop, Kula Shaker and so on. In "Manco Capac" Raja Ram's shiny flute play comes into action and this track offers in particular a great bluesy break by Alan Mostert. "Body" comes closer to hard rock territory in terms of the guitar sound but nicely balanced by Shiva's vocals and Raja Ram's flute as well as some occasional keyboards (which were usually only sparsely present in their music). One can imagine a mix of Cream and Tull here. Revealing stronger eastern touches "Gange Mai" is a more playful and highly rhythmic track getting into a type of repetitive, hypnotising mood especially due to the vocals and the flute. But there's as well a lot of rock to be found here. "Chant" has droning sitar tunes and combines a "Hare Krishna" routine with an old English carol making up to a wonderful unification of eastern and western spiritual culture. In "Pearl and Bird" Shiva presents his strongest vocal performance on this record revealing an extraordinary range of his voice. "Notting Hill Gate" which had been released as well as a single quite reminds to what Jade Warrior did on their first two albums one or two years after with the difference of sitar added here. The original edition had been concluded by the ambitious track "Midnight Mode" starting with some chanting followed by an extended flute solo and some guitar jamming. It finally fades out with some continous heavy drone. That one together with "Chant" is certainly the least accessible track on here. The CD re-issue contains as bonus the single version of "Notting Hill Gate" and its B-side "Move Into The Light" sounding very commercially though and not really worth mentioning.

Though probably being not really an essential one in Prog "In Blissful Company" should be considered an excellent debut of an usually forgotten band that combined religious and spiritual influences with psychedelic and early progressive rock music in a highly appealing (at least for me) and approachable manner. Certainly this kind of music will not appeal to everybody - rock fans might find it to esoteric and for puristic followers of raga prog it will probably sound too poppy. Nevertheless I think this band (especially their first two albums) should not be dismissed by anyone who doesn't mind some eastern flavour in his Prog. ***1/2 really!!!

Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 4 stars

Quintessence first album presents an under-rated band which appears to be quite precursor in the Indo folk progressive genre for this 1969 year. There's a strong analogy with another progressive band: Sweet smoke. For the jazz and Indian influences, the predominance of flute, the same happy hippy spiritual mood and the excellent guitar work. Quintessence music is never complex but can be well progressive anyway, like on "Midnight mode", the gem here: excellent flute, a mind-blowing psychedelic space guitar solo and an impressive pure traditional (Indian) end. A must! A nice introduction to this great band. The Repertoire CD release has a good sound and is very nice looking in its Digipack form.

Review by Warthur
2 stars Both this album and Quintessence's output as a whole has become rather dated over the years. Clearly riding the wave of enthusiasm for all things Indian that was inspired by the Beatles, the band's fortunes dried up at around the time that particular fashion did. Still, the group seem to have explored both Indian music and Indian spiritual beliefs to a significantly greater depth than many of their peers; a good many hippies of the era took a rather superficial approach to "Eastern" religions, and in the end of a lot of the cultural appropriation at the time comes across as simply another type of orientalism, a fetishisation of all that's "alien" and "exotic" about other cultures that ultimately comes across as faintly patronising.

Quintessence do not come across as superficial culture-tourists on this album; on Chant, for example, the Hare Krishna mantra is delivered with reverence and without embellishment or tampering. On the one hand, this does show an appropriate level of respect for the culture whose trappings the band adopted. On the other hand, it leaves the album a strange, patchwork affair - I mean, it's like a Christian rock band slapping a five-minute Gregorian chant in the middle of an album, it ruins the flow completely. At one point there will be a sincerely presented Krishna chant, whilst at other points there are flute-laden psych songs which come across a bit like early Jethro Tull cast-offs and the occasional sub-Donovan hippy-folk outing (Notting Hill Gate, the major single from the album, is an absolutely asinine song about how hip the neighbourhood the band lived in was at the time), and then at other points you'll get a psych rendition of some traditional Indian music. The album doesn't flow at all well - the different moods don't blend into each other so much and the transitions are just jarring - and the individual songs are pleasant but never much more than pleasant. Maybe Quintessence really were as sincere as they made themselves out to be, but whilst the sincerity is here the musicality isn't.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Flutist and percussionist Raja Ram is a GENIUS. he went on to form Shpongle, arguably the greaest electronic music endeavor weve seen to date. Quintessence gave him his start, and the band displays this genius applied to rock music. Definitely a must have if you like Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, ... (read more)

Report this review (#54191) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The original LP was formed of tracks 1-8. Tracks 9 and 10 comprised the A and B sides of the band's first (and only?) single. I never rated the popular Notting Hill Gate, and still don't; nor do I appreciate five minutes of unrelenting drone at the end of Midnight Mode (the band had obviousl ... (read more)

Report this review (#40881) | Posted by tbstars | Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars QUINTESSENCE In Blissful Company is a good psycho-rock album, a little bit inspired by music from India. All ten tracks are very similar, rather simply constructed - without any special effects - and this is unfortunatelly the main problem with this Quintessence first apperance. I find this a ... (read more)

Report this review (#34086) | Posted by Arzachel | Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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