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Kundalini Shakti Devi biography
At the beginning of the 70's, Roberto "Paramhansa" Puddu, a professional musician playing dance music with his saxophone in various bands and clubs, began to notice that many foreign and Italian bands - notably E.L.P, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Yes, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, New Trolls, Le Orme, Garybaldi, Pholas Dactylus and many others - stopped writing `simple songs', developing pop and rock `operas' that went further than traditional straightforward arrangements. Feeling the need to record the more complicated melodies and harmonic structures in his head, Roberto sought to find capable and eager musicians interested in more adventurous music.

After several unsuccessful attempts, others willing and determined to experiment and realize these new ideas came together. Roberto was joined by Massimilliano Moretti (guitars, vocals), Gianni Lecchi (guitars, vocals), Claudio Capetta (bass, vocals), Enrico Radaelli (keyboards, organ), Tony Ognibene (keyboards, vocals) and Ampelio Biffi (drums, percussion), three lengthy pieces were recorded on a simple Revox recorder and mixer, but these were sadly met with disinterest from Italian music managers unwilling to take a risk.

Almost 40 years later, the self titled debut of Kundalini Shakti Devi is now released for the first time by BTF on CD and vinyl. A somewhat typical RPI work, full of passionate Italian vocals, plenty of flute and saxophone around ambitious, often jazzy arrangements, this hidden gem compliments fellow Italian bands such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and St Tropez, while incorporating elements of worldwide prog artists such as Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Ange and even the Canterbury musicians. Well worth discovering.

[Michael (Aussie-Byrd-Brother)]

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3.47 | 11 ratings
Kundalini Shakti Devi

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 Kundalini Shakti Devi by KUNDALINI SHAKTI DEVI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.47 | 11 ratings

Kundalini Shakti Devi
Kundalini Shakti Devi Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars During the 70's Italian Roberto "Paramhansa" Puddu was playing the sax in various Pop/Dance bands, but at the same time he was intrigued by the fascinating sound of the Italian Prog bands of the era.So, he decided to gather some musicians together and compose music in a similar vein.The procedure was quite hard, most of the members, who eventually helped him had a background in Classic Rock and Puddu had to reveal their more experimental side in order to fully capture the spirit of the project.With him on sax, flute and lead vocals and Massimiliano Moretti, Gianni Lecchi on guitars/vocals, Claudio Capetta, Alfonso Oliva on bass, Enrico Radaelli, Tony Ognibene on keyboards and Ampelio Biffi on drums the team managed to record three tracks in 1974 , but failed to convince any label to sign the band.40 years later the music was discovered by AMS' Mathias Scheller and an archival release under the name of Kundalini Shakti Devi was launched without second thoughts in 2013, both on CD and vinyl formats.

Not only was Puddu fascinated by the progressive trend of the time, but he apparently made on attempt on the more difficult side of Prog Rock, composing long tracks with multiple influences.His self-confidence as a composer and player are evident already from the opening 19-min. ''Flash'', an excellent take on soft Symphonic/Jazz Rock with slight psychedelic elements on the organ-drenched parts and the singing lines, a loose feeling on the instrumental parts and obvious Classical inspirations on the flute/keyboards interactions.A very nice long epic with some dramatic keyboard and guitar work, smooth lyrical moments with a mellow jazzy background and good pastoral soundscapes with lots of flute.''Museo galattico'' is about 15 minutes long and comes closer to the dark Prog vein of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and compatriots OFFICINA MECCANICA, it's mostly jazzy Prog Rock with again some singing psychedelia and a vastly more experimental sound.Symphonic elements are not absent either, especially during the synth-led atmospheric passages with the romantic vocals, but the major length is dedicated to mid-tempo instrumental flexibility with lots of sax, organ and guitar.The 14-min. ''Sensitivita'' closes the album in a more symphonic style with discreet jazzy elements.The music is somewhere between ALPHATAURUS and IL VOLO, jazzy-spiced Symphonic Rock with the standard Italian romanticism, based on great organ parts, lovely guitar work, melodic saxes and peaceful synthesizers, the atmosphere is absolutely great and the arrangements sound more refined than raw.

An archival, almost classic work of 70's Italian Prog.Excellent document on how many unsigned bands were playing with a free spirit around the time, this is some serious Jazz/Sympho Rock with elegant sax and flute work and numerous guitar and keyboard dominations.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars,

 Kundalini Shakti Devi by KUNDALINI SHAKTI DEVI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.47 | 11 ratings

Kundalini Shakti Devi
Kundalini Shakti Devi Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Fortunately in this modern era for us prog fans, there is plenty of interest in not only new and upcoming Italian progressive artists, but for reissued, rare and even previously unreleased vintage RPI albums and acts. The self-titled release from band Kundalini Shakti Devi, the work of Roberto "Paramhansa" Puddu and the musicians he assembled to compliment his musical vision, is reason to celebrate amongst RPI followers, one that dates back to 1974 but never saw the light of day until now. Dusted off and released in both a lavish vinyl and mini LP CD package, the work is sure to please Italian prog fans, with it's mix of varied, passionate vocals, light jazz arrangements full of sax/flute and spacey synth passages. Never too in debt to one band, either Italian or worldwide, but incorporating little elements from numerous tasteful sources and still coming up with somewhat a very typical sounding RPI album that proves very rewarding upon repeated plays. Certainly one of the strongest assets of the album is Roberto's lead vocals - commanding, mocking and frantic one moment, crooning, playful and affectionate the next. He occasionally reminded me of Ange's Christian Decamps, although I'm not sure if the French band was a direct influence.

The 19 minute opener `Flash' starts the album in a proud epic prog manner, and although the flat production make it sound a little plodding in some sections with a few flat spots, there is plenty of variety overall, and repeated listens reveal a greater sense of flow throughout the piece. A commentary on consumer and celebrity culture, sadly even more relevant today, much of the track has a slowly brooding and melancholic mood, perfectly presented with some somber flute, snarling electric lead guitar fills and especially the sinister eerie synths at about the 13 minute mark. But it's not all gloom and dark drama, there's numerous more upbeat reflective contrasts, especially Roberto's perfectly restrained sax playing, and fans of the jazzier prog bands will love an extended instrumental passage about 6 minutes in with some definite Canterbury flavoured fuzzy keyboards, Steve Hillage-like guitar and whimsical darting flute drifting through the dreamy hazy atmosphere.

Even better is `Museo Galattico', opening with a nice extended five minute dark, creeping and malevolent instrumental passage with spacey Novalis-like drawn out keyboards, far away smoky jazz sax over a pumping repeated bass line and wistful flute floating around the background. You'll find moments of snapping schizophrenic Banco-like unpredictability, fusion period Soft Machine electric guitar runs, and lightly jazzy foot-tapping catchy Caravan-like playfulness. Then a romantic and sweetly crooned vocal with triumphant sax solo from Roberto in the second half over spectral glistening pulsing synths similar to Sensations' Fix before a quick reprise that perfectly brings all the previous sections back around one more time.

`Sensitivita' closes the album with a very disorientating and lyrically surreal piece, and there's a hint of danger to much of this one. A marching rhythm, spiraling guitar runs, Genesis-like organ and chanting wordless harmonies from Roberto advance the music in urgency and tempo. The band really show their tight jazzy chops throughout this one (some really great snappy drumming and purring bass especially) and like much of the album, there's all these fiery little tasteful electric guitar fills, more of those long drawn out washes of Novalis-like synth notes, unhappy, thought- provoking sax, and hypnotic Van der Graaf Generator unease before it all finishes on a noisy jazz/fusion meltdown not unlike something Perigeo might have done.

One thing to point out straight away - the album is quite lo-fi, more resembling a rough demo or average quality bootleg. Some listeners have already pointed this out as a severe problem with this release, but I've certainly heard plenty worse, especially on some of the vintage Mellow Candle archive compilation releases. This one maintains the same level of audio quality all the way through, so at least it's consistent.

`Kundalini Shakti Devi' is a fine addition to an RPI collection, one that improves greatly with each additional listen, but newer fans just starting to approach the genre should pick up endless more exciting and important albums than this. It still makes for a very worthwhile listen, and, seeing the current trend of numerous vintage Italian prog acts recording new albums, lets see if the band might get around to recording a follow-up to this one - better late than never, and there's too much talent and unfinished potential here to go to waste!

Three and a half stars, bumped up to four.

Thanks to Michael for the artist addition.

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