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Indo-Prog/Raga Rock definition

The private, metaphysical relations to oneself, to the other, the symbolism of existence are connected, transfigured by the particular expression of raga, classical India music. The emotion provided by this music is not only "affective". It's a real message, an aesthetic of the nature, of the divine, a virtue able to guide the listener to a state of emotional trance. In the mid-60's with the launch of international success of raga masters as Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan.European and American artists will become more and more captivated by the dynamical relation between mystical emotion, spirituality and music. The emergence of Raga schools from everywhere (still perpetuating the ancestral musical traditions), the initiatic travels of Western minimalist-modern jazz composers (Terry Riley, Don Cherry...) to India will participate to a growing interest for this musical universe. The emphasis on repetitive circular rhythms, ornamentation (gamaka), the use of acoustic stringed patterns, the sense of beatific endurance and lenghty improvisation are the central characteristics of this music in term of practice and sound aesthetism. Emotionally, the function on the listener is hypnotic, voluntary trying to reach him into a higher state of consciousness, modulating his perception of time and space. The basic conception of "drone" (continuous sound form) will be taken back in popular music and turned into "kosmische" electronica (70's Berlin underground). After Seventh sons' first original but rather discreet effort simply called "raga" (1964) and Malachi's holy music (1966), famous bands as the Beatles in "Revolver" (1966) and Traffic in their album "Mr Fantasy" (1967) will be seduced by the sonorities of Indian raga music. They occasionally incorporate sitar elements to their music. Among the most notorious artists who participate to the original dialogue between proggy rock and Indian music we can notice many jazzy formed musicians influenced by "world" elements (the guitarists Volker Krieger, Steve Tibbetts, the clarinet player Tony Scott). They are often recognised to practice a fusion between jazz rock harmonies and raga's instrumentations (tabla, sitar.). Among them Collin Walcott and Alberto Marsicano were Ravi Shankar's pupils. The world of "raga" rock can also include psych folk / drone-y bands (Quintessance, Fit & Limo, Flute & Voice, GHQ, Pelt...) and which are largely impregnated by mysticism, sonic meditation and sitar.

Philippe Blache

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Indo-Prog/Raga Rock | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.33 | 59 ratings
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
4.14 | 106 ratings
Shakti With John McLaughlin
4.14 | 34 ratings
4.62 | 7 ratings
Zendik, Wulf
4.30 | 12 ratings
Flute & Voice
4.14 | 19 ratings
Oriental Sunshine
4.23 | 10 ratings
Zendik, Wulf
3.96 | 25 ratings
4.33 | 6 ratings
Hortobágyi, László
4.33 | 6 ratings
Hortobágyi, László
3.85 | 30 ratings
Clark Hutchinson
4.07 | 8 ratings
Shankar, Ananda
3.97 | 10 ratings
Robertson, Don
3.86 | 17 ratings
3.90 | 12 ratings
3.94 | 9 ratings
Alford, Clem
4.00 | 7 ratings
3.78 | 19 ratings
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
3.89 | 9 ratings
Ossian / Osjan
3.94 | 7 ratings
Ossian / Osjan

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock overlooked and obscure gems albums new

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Lamp Of The Universe
Ceyleib People, the
Alford, Clem
Clivage, Andre Fertier's

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Latest Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Music Reviews

 Satwa by SATWA album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.77 | 10 ratings

Satwa Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by GKR

4 stars From the very crazy mind of Lula Cortes (that would give us in a few years ahead the marvelous Paebiru), came a great voyage thorugh indian, northeartern brazilian folk and a lot of psychdelia.

I have mention the Psychdelic Folk scene of Brazil in other posts (with Lula Cortes, Alceu Valença and Ave Sangria being the expoents), and maybe one of the best albums that show this is Satwa. A whole trip into every style that influences this two musicians are merged with the sitar.

The album is too steady (without any edgy parts, sadly) that do not allow to give 5 stars. Let stay with 4 then.

 Echo In Light by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.80 | 7 ratings

Echo In Light
Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars This is one of those impulse buys about a band i knew nothing about and only took the plunge because i was hypnotized by the artwork on the album cover. I have found many a great album this way and i am happy to report that this one delivered exactly what the artwork suggests!

LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE is the solo project of Craig Williamson which was founded in 1999. He is also bassist and vocalist in the psychedelic rock band Datura. The music on this second album ECHO IN LIGHT from this solo project is a combo of freak folk, a cosmic raga rock hippy feeling like a long lost artifact from the 60s only with much cleaner production and a Floydian space rock but manages to sound different enough as to never bring the Pinksters to mind too often.

At first i thought this was a band which included a female vocalist but i was surprised to find out that this is truly a solo album where every instrument, vocal performance and production technique was by Williamson alone. Not bad! This is basically long drawn out mid-tempo acoustic guitar with tribal drumming, occasional droning of sitar sounds and spacey 60s vocals. Tracks like "Love" bring fellow Oceanic trippers Dead Can Dance to mind. The album flows well from track to track and i really only find the final track "Dream Sequence" to be longer than necessary.

For being recorded on a simple 8 track this sounds pretty damn good. This album was put out by Cranium Music which went belly up shortly after but would find a new home with Clostridium Records. This scratches the right psychedelic itch. It is highly melodic and has lots of variation to it. This is a perfect mix of spacey and triply otherworldliness mixed with nice and accessible melodic developments. Sign me up for another album. LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE did not disappoint.

 Music From Macbeth by THIRD EAR BAND album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.17 | 23 ratings

Music From Macbeth
Third Ear Band Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm always left wondering why I bought albums by this mob. I guess I'm a real sucker for impressive artwork. Being the soundtrack to Roman Polanski's 'Macbeth' film, you'd think it would be a bit more dramatic.

They're known for their swirling, acoustic trance music. It's certainly swirling - Iistening to this makes me feel like I've been on a Merry-go-round for two hours after drinking a bottle of gin and wanting to get off pronto before the unthinkable happens.

There's an awful lot of droning atonal oboe and violin at play here and despite their professionalism it's terribly untuneful and wayward. In fact it reminds me of the superb band 'Biota' but far more minimalistic, gloomy and grey - and being from the early 70's, played with a lot less effect units. Supposedly there's a VCS3 synth used, but for the life of me I'm never aware of it.

A few notes are repeated incessantly, ovelapping and at odds with one another. It's all strangely discordant and vague. I do like the field recordings of the seagulls and later on - blackbirds. I could be cruel and say that they have more musical sense than 'The Third Ear Band'.

I've never seen the film, so perhaps I'm being a bit harsh here. Perhaps it fits perfectly with the visuals it accompanied? It does remind me of Pasolini's 'Canterbury Tales' movie. Both are similar in sound.

'Macbeth' improves the longer it plays. Your ears and senses become accustomed to the out of time beats, the groaning strings and screeching recorders. It's a 'difficult' album but with perseverance can implausibly be quite rewarding in a sadistic kind of way.

I'll give it this - 'Macbeth' must be the worst hangover album ever made. If you play this on a Sunday morning after a heavy Saturday night, you'll regret it - big time...

 Holy Music by MALACHI album cover Studio Album, 1966
4.00 | 5 ratings

Holy Music
Malachi Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars John Morgan Newbern adopted the name MALACHI for the single album he recorded way back on August 17th, 1966 in Flower Child, San Francisco. His adopted name was taken from the Jewish prophet in the Hebrew Bible, and thus his sole album HOLY MUSIC is one of the very first truly psychedelic albums that was designed to evoke the spiritual, that is to melt the boundaries between the mundane and profound. What's notable about this release is that it is an example of early world music fusion that eschewed the pop world all together and created something that would satisfy the most blissed out sunshine child of the 60s looking for something beyond Jefferson Airplane.

This album is trippy in many ways. The music is not exactly rhythmic but yet is in a very distorted way. It is essentially John Newbern on acoustic guitars, which is what he plays most but also occasionally throws in some percussion and the rare vocals on the final track all the while weaving these sounds with Red Krayo on a jew's harp. This is music that is clearly inspired by their inner makings for it has taken me a while to warm up to this. There is something going on here that reels me in but musically it sounds as pointillistic as Karlheinz Stockhausen with mere impressions burrowing their way into our devolved dimension. The music has a depth to it that i cannot pinpoint and i have no idea why it seems to work on a certain level.

HOLY MUSIC has a simplistic approach that reminds me of other spiritual minimalistic types such as Tibetan Buddhist chants and although this gets cited as one of the very first psychedelic albums it is not really so for it doesn't convey any sense of the time and instead oozes a sense of timelessness like an eternal meditation designed to proffer the sublime to the unenlightened. Certainly an anomaly in the musical world and catches the spirit of some of the Krautrock and progressive electronic that was to come, but the album lacks any true bite for all the tracks sound musically similar and since every one of them is titled "Wednesday" with a different number attached it is not too surprising. This is a good album for zoning out or meditating to but don't expect any real grit to stimulate the active listening experience. I agree with Dr. Schluss' Garage Of Psychedelic Obscurities when he gives this album 3 out of 5 for quality and 4 out of 5 on the Trip-O-Meter, so i give it 3.5 but rounded down for PA

 Dedicated To The Bird We Love by ORIENTAL SUNSHINE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.14 | 19 ratings

Dedicated To The Bird We Love
Oriental Sunshine Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars When i first heard this sole release by the Norwegian band ORIENTAL SUNSHINE i was struck that they sound so much like a San Francisco band who slept in Golden Gate Park during the Summer Of Love and took a trip to India and fell in love with the sitar and decided to record an album together. DEDICATED TO THE BIRD WE LOVE is basically a psychedelic pop album dressed up with all kinds of Indian instruments. In fact of all possible influences that come to mind, it's Peter, Paul & Mary with their pop folky approaches. I keep expecting this album to drift into "Puff, The Magic Dragon" territory with sitars, tablas and Mama's & Papa's references.

This band was basically a duo with Nina Johansen on vocals and guitar and Rune Walle on sitar, guitar and vocals as well but they had a little help from their friends with keyboards, sarod, flute and bass. They were discovered on a TV show called "Talent 69" (the year not the sexual position!!!) What we have here for the most part are psychedelic pop songs that are very mellow. They are slow to mid-tempo and revolve around all the stereotypes of 60s hippies philosophy. While many bands at this point were evolving into the 70s, ORIENTAL SUNSHINE was clearly reflecting the promises of yesterdecade in lieu of the shattered illusions of the present.

While i don't want to diss this album too much for its naiveté or anything of the sort, what really makes this a mediocre listen for me is the okayish lyrics, the nondescript melodies and the inability of anything really standing up and above the other similar styles of the day. I mean, just listen to The Beatles' "Within You Without You" which sounds so much superior to anything that presents itself here. To me, this sounds like campfire songs in a decade when ideals reigned but strategies failed. A soundtrack for a philosophy that got its wings clipped before take off. A nice pleasantry of sort but one that just lacks enough bite to get my saliva flowing. It wouldn't be until the mid-70s that any sort of raga rock with some serious bite would truly take form, but this is a nice little find nonetheless, it just doesn't knock my socks off is all.

 The Codona Trilogy by CODONA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
4.05 | 2 ratings

The Codona Trilogy
Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars THE CODONA TRILOGY is as it sounds, the entire three albums in one boxed set (see individual albums for reviews.) I have just a few comments about this particular compilation:

First of all, it is not remastered. The production is very, very good and i cannot find any information about anything being done with it for reissue so i can only assume that it was not. I have not heard any of these albums outside of this release.

I was very disappointed by the packaging. Gone is all of the album cover artwork. The whole package is a white box with each album in a white paper sleeve. Even the discs themselves have NO track listings. The one saving grace of this set as far as special packaging goes is the detailed historical booklet. It tells you everything you could possibly want to know about this band's entire run from 1978-1982.

I got this box set as a convenient way to get all three albums together but they were all released on CD around 1990 and if the sound quality is exactly the same as it is here then i would opt for the actually individual CDs because there are no bonus tracks or any other additional goodies other than the historical info. This is the simplest of reissues with only a nice booklet being the exception.

Although slightly disappointed with the packaging it's the music that counts and it's all here in its entirety and to be fair the album covers on CODONA albums weren't the most artistic of the lot so it's not a horrible loss so i guess i will just have to be happy that i got this package at a decent price which is why it could possibly be so simple in the first place.

 Codona 3 by CODONA album cover Studio Album, 1983
4.14 | 34 ratings

Codona 3
Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Third and final chapter for the experimental ethnic jazz fusion band CODONA featuring CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-ná Vasconcelos. Through their three album run on the German jazz label ECM this band explores the many far reaches of the globe with a whole arsenal of musical instruments mixing and commingling like the ancients never thought possible. While the first album was a bit more straight forward offering a glimpse into the possibilities of mixing American jazz, African traditionals and classical Indian music into a sonic cauldron, the second album upped the ante with the experimentation cranking the avant-garde up a few notches and demanding a more dedicated listen to figure out the delicate assembly of parts involved. With CODONA 3 that experimentation is maintained only this time it flows a bit better than that of 2 making it a slightly less demanding listen but still one that will satisfy the adventurous music lover.

The longest track is the opener "Goshakabouchi" which is based on a Japanese traditional piece but takes us much further around the globe than Godzilla ever dared to roam. It begins with sparse Indian bells but eventually is joined by Cherry's signature trumpet sound in an extremely slow tempo and sparsely laid out sonic effect. As the tempo picks up we get new sounds from the caxixi (a high pitched drum), a hammered dulcimer and talking drum. We then move on to an African traditional reminding me of the music of West Africa with the Mandinka tribe coming to mind with "Hey Da Ba Doom" which is heavily percussive and hypnotic because of its repetitive nature. The sanza and doussn'gouni dominate this soundscape.

"Travel By Night" is an odd mid-tempo number with sitar as the dominant instrument with a subordinate trumpet and berimbau peaking in to embellish the rhythmic developments

"Lullaby" is a multi-layered sitar track but sounds more like in an African musical context. It has a strange way of expressing chords through the sitar and one of the most non-Indian pieces i have ever heard using this instrument

"Traya Boia" is a strange multi vocalizing track with multiple chants scattered about eventually accompanied by smooth trumpet notes and high pitched background wails.

"Clicky Clacky" is yet another original design. It begins and ends with a train whistle and the theme is of a hobo during the American Great Depression of the 1930s catching trains and moving on from town to town, however with a sitar and tabla with a blues singing style, it evokes a very surreal sound indeed

"Inner Organs" is the second longest track and is backed up by a Floydian "Saucerful Of Secrets" drone organ sound which gets joined by a tabla, caxixi, sanza (thumb piano), some foreign language spoken lyrics and triangles and takes us on a nice pleasant journey in a nice and mellow way. Cherry contributes his famous trumpet sounds that sound like an elephant. Very cool

CODONA found their sound improving on each album but sadly CO-llin Walcott was killed in a car accident on a 1984 concert tour with his other band Oregon in East Germany. That pretty much ended this ambitious band's existence for it was Walcott who started the whole thing. I have still never heard anything like what this band has done to this degree and it really feels like they were only getting their feet wet and that the best was yet to come.

 Codona 2 by CODONA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.90 | 12 ratings

Codona 2
Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Continuing where they left off on their debut album CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-na Vasconcelos continue their experimental fusion of American jazz, various African styles, Brazilian and Indian influences but this time around they up the experimental ante a notch or two and require the listener to invest a few more listens in order to understand where they are coming from. Upon first listen I didn't like this as much as the debut. Whereas the debut CODONA album kind of had a logic to where they were coming from, this second album throws you for a loop. It's not that it's ridiculously lost in the clouds and creates a whole new musical experience, it's just that the melodies are more intricate and subtle and there are more liberties in the individual instruments creating separate and distinct roles which don't immediately sound pleasant and even ring a little dissonant at times. The band, in effect, are demanding that you evolve as they do in order to understand their progression.

There are all kinds of differences here. For one the band likes to expound on certain ideas. They present a theme and then kind of throw in an extended weirdness, or perhaps you would call it musical variation. On "Malinye" for example, a 12:39 progressive walk through fusion-land, there is an introductory cohesiveness to the song but it changes into a wild vocal frenzy that then turns into an African instrumental affair that incorporates many an ethnic flair to the mix. This is one of the major accomplishments of CODONA, which is the progressive fusion of hitherto unmixed styles of world music. Despite all my praise trying to elevate this album to such heights, I still like it a tad less than the debut, however it is very much recommended for fusion freaks who like a bit more bite and unexpected tumult to their music. This album can be quite exciting and surprising at moments but for an overall appreciation must be heard a few times. A particular sound that remains unique in the musical world as far as I know. I also really like how DO-n Cherry makes his trumpet sound like an elephant at times. 3.5 rounded up

 Dedicated To The Bird We Love by ORIENTAL SUNSHINE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.14 | 19 ratings

Dedicated To The Bird We Love
Oriental Sunshine Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars A beautiful record, particularly drenched in Indian traditional music. A lot of this album starts off with prog keyboards, but then soon sitar, bansuri, and dhol all join in. Our vocalists all sing their hearts out as beautifully as the rest of the music, completing psychedelia's dream of a wonderful raga record. Words can't quite describe how wonderful it is, in playing, in its small amount of complexity, in its uniqueness. It is very exceptional, in several meanings of the word. Opener "Across Your Life" is the best track, starting with keys and then introducing the other elements at their best, and "Visions" and "My Way To Be Hurt", both free of keys, are tied for second, with the latter having acoustic guitar as well, but all is pretty and relaxing. Excellent, a one of a kind treat.
 Codona by CODONA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.96 | 25 ratings

Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Other than Shakti I have found most other artists listed as Indo / raga jazz fusion don't sound very Indian or raga, rather having the title based on more of a drone that is influenced by such exotica. CODONA is an obvious exception with Indo / raga just bursting into the scene from the getgo with sitars, tablas, dulcimers, timpanis and other exotic elements such as droning chanting vocals in the background adding a Tibetan getaway feel to the whole thing.

CODONA was a trio of talented musicians and cleverly the name of the group is the combination of the first two letters of each of the member's first names: CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry, NA-na Vasconcelos. How's that for democracy? The band released three albums from 1978-82 with this eponymous release being the first. This kind of music probably sounds somewhat familiar since world fusion has blossomed and repeated itself a million-fold since this was released, but this 70s collaboration is dripping with a sublime soul and innovative phrasings that leave me feeling transported to the time and place that this was constructed when the world wasn't quite such a global village and the results of which seem exotic even by today's standards.

Collin Walcott was a disciple of Ravi Shankar and generously handles all of the Indian instruments previously mentioned while the presence of Don Cherry more often associated as a free jazz solo artist as well as with his works with Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra and a gazillion others offers his trumpet and free jazz talents to the mix. He not only blows his horn but also throws in a few flute performances and his lesser known talents on doussn'gouni, an African percussion instrument. Naná Vasconcelos is a Brazilian Latin jazz percussionist and berimbau (looks like a Chinese erhu) player. He handles all percussion, the cuica, talking drum as well as his signature berimbau.

The music on this album is sensual and light, contemplative and only subtlety complex as the instruments weave around each other but never deviate from the main musical frame. All is designed to support the other on this meditative trip around the globe. This is light and fluffy music that makes you feel like you are on the verge of an astral trip or in another realm of consciousness altogether. Whereas Shakti was all about the highest tempos possible, CODONA has no problem letting the music breathe in and out just like a student of vipassana would allowing the soul to contemplate every beautiful construct and enigmatic insight the universe has to offer.

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Indo-Prog/Raga Rock bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
500MG United States
CLEM ALFORD United Kingdom
ALUMBRADOS United States
ERIK AMLEE United States
BROTHER AH United States
CODONA Multi-National
COSMIC EYE Multi-National
FIT & LIMO Germany
GHQ United States
THE HABIBIYYA United Kingdom
KALA United Kingdom
KANGURU Australia
MAGIC CARPET United Kingdom
MALACHI United States
PELT United States
SADDAR BAZAAR United Kingdom
SATWA Brazil
SEVENTH SONS United States
SHANTI Multi-National
JIM SULLIVAN United Kingdom
THIRD EAR BAND United Kingdom
VASANT RAI Multi-National
WULF ZENDIK United States

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