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Yatha Sidhra - A Meditation Mass CD (album) cover


Yatha Sidhra



3.98 | 127 ratings

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4 stars Another one-album wonder from the Brain label circa early seventies Germany, YATHA SIDHRA came and went in the blink of an eye, in the process leaving behind a curious addition to the Krautrock genre. A unique brew of Psychedelia, folk, ethnic influences, jazz and western rock, 1971's A MEDITATION MASS is almost just that: a long, trippy, flute-led instrumental journey that slowly winds it's way through four, sonically comatose, interlocking pieces. It wanders freely from drowsily-toned psych-folk to carefully-constructed ethno-jams to brisk, jazzy, inventive workouts and back again to loose cosmic grooves. It's almost like some strange, magical journey through a wonderful and ancient musical forest, an orgianically-grown piece of music that resonates with sounds and textures from the past and the present with it's crisp flutes, soft congo drums and sitar-esque acoustic guitars giving off a distinctly old world vibe. It is also, however, very much a product of it's time. Each piece is untitled; they are all just parts of one whole. Part one lasts an epic 19- minutes plus yet somehow never really drags, the shimmering guitars acting as the soft golden thread off of which all else hangs, whether it be a shrill burst of flute or a smattering of Eastern percussion. It has the feel of a stoned campfire jam. Those with an interest of all things cosmic, Eastern-tinged psych and with a little patience will be rewarded as repeated listenings slowly reveal unexplored melodic avenues that further showcase the albums dreamlike qualities. It's a slow, carefully-constructed and rather hypnotic experience, though a soft and warm one as well.

Basically, A MEDITATION MASS omits an incredibly relaxed vibe and is something that someone can put on and literally mediate to if they wanted. Nowadays it's obviously seen as a product of the late-sixties counterculture movement's interest in all things cultural; an album made by four Germans but one that sounds distinctly non-Western with the more modern influences tucked deeply away inside the layers of proto-world music and psychedelic folk. You definitely wouldn't think it was German, but Krautrock it is, exemplifying wonderfully the diversity of the genre. In fact placing this music in any one period or region is almost impossible. It has hints of Japanese, Indian and Chinese influences amongst many others, but they are all wrapped in a loose brew of acoustic jazz-folk that in itself is a myriad of differing influences. In other words, it's a beautiful patchwork quilt of musical times, textures and cultures that utterly ignored the commercial values of the time, even more so than the underground psychedelic German rock acts of the time such as AMON DUUL II, EMBRYO and AGITATION FREE who all endured longer and more successful careers by fusing bluesy rock with ethnic flourishes in a more level way that accentuated the rockier, heavier and darker elements of the Western music but also paradoxically rendered the music less mysterious in tone and flavour as its basic sound could be traced back to the rock 'n' roll of the fifties, whereas Yatha Sidhra's roots lie in something much more venerable.

Yatha Sidhra can also maybe be seen as early forerunners in the development of 'World Music'. But this particular line-up would never record a studio album again so ultimately their influence was rather limited. They did at least contribute something original, diverse and wholly different that stood up to be a singular affirmation of the more positive, forward- thinking ideals of the era in which it was concocted. Those wanting something faster or something meatier will bore easy; the clue to it all is in the title. This is rock in the loosest sense of the word with wooden beats and stoned hippie rhythms taking the place of drums and melody. This reviewer thinks A MEDITATION MASS is a hidden psychedelic gem, a wonderful piece of astral-ethno-folk-rock quite unlike anyone else recorded since by western artists. So sit, relax, medidate? you cosmic kids will find much to enjoy. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009

stefro | 4/5 |


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