A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

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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

4.55 | 43 ratings
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
4.42 | 15 ratings
Abstract Truth
4.42 | 10 ratings
Oriental Sunshine
4.19 | 22 ratings
4.05 | 82 ratings
Shakti With John McLaughlin
4.75 | 5 ratings
Zendik, Wulf
4.34 | 9 ratings
Flute & Voice
4.25 | 8 ratings
Ossian / Osjan
4.32 | 6 ratings
Zendik, Wulf
4.02 | 15 ratings
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
4.50 | 4 ratings
Hortobágyi, László
4.50 | 4 ratings
Hortobágyi, László
4.05 | 11 ratings
3.91 | 14 ratings
3.84 | 22 ratings
Clark Hutchinson
4.49 | 3 ratings
4.07 | 6 ratings
Ossian / Osjan
4.05 | 6 ratings
Alford, Clem
3.95 | 8 ratings
Robertson, Don
4.13 | 4 ratings
Shankar, Ananda

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

Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Indo-Prog/Raga Rock experts team

Magic Carpet
Habibiyya, The
Ossian / Osjan
Lamp Of The Universe

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Latest Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Music Reviews

 Totum by ABSTRACT TRUTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.48 | 14 ratings

Abstract Truth Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Psychedelic folk-rock with some raga influences filtered via George Harrison, that's the name of the game on Abstract Nova's debut album. A rock band singing broadsides against racial segregation like Oxford Town was no rarity in the 1960s, though it was a dangerous game to play in South Africa. One can only imagine that Abstract Nova survived through obscurity, since the album seems to have fallen through the cracks somewhat, perhaps due to the sometimes unremarkable cover versions. However, when the band get into a groove and go off on a flight of fancy, special things happen, so it's worth a listen if you like a fat dose of 1960s in your early 1970s folk-rock.
 Lang'syne by LANGSYNE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.20 | 12 ratings

Langsyne Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Langsyne came from Bramen, near Wuppertal, and were formed in 1969, when Egbert Froese met Ulrich Naehle.They were both fond of Renaissance Music and classic Prog Folk acts such as Gryphon and Incredible String Band.They begun jamming together, while they were geeting deep into 70's Prog Rock and religion cultures such as Budhism.They had to break up around 1971 for couple of years to fullfill their military service and got back in 1973 more focused and tight than ever.Around mid-70's they met Matthias Mertler, who soon became the third regular member of Langsyne.In 1976 they recorded pieces of their six year history at the studio of their friend Hartmut Oberhoff, by the time all members had become accomplished multi-instrumentalists and handled a nice bunch of different instruments.They managed to release it via Duesselton, an obscure label specialized in German Schlager, but the album was pressed in about 200 copies.

The album swirled worldwide as a rare German Prog Folk obscurity, but I fail to locate the true progressive tendencies of the album.This is actually a mystic Psych/Folk work with a deeply esoteric mood, built around acoustic instrumentation and soft singing lines.The opening ''Medina'' sounds interesting, a good mix of acoustic Folk with laid-back keyboards and ancient flutes,but the rest of the album is a trippy Folk effort with dreamy, sophisticated, psychedelic soundscapes, much in a loose mood with stretched passages and use of pre-recorded effects, which are propably natural sounds.Vey hypnotic material with traditional instruments like banjo, harp, sitar, flute and percussion interrupted by monotonous keyboard tones.I do not see the reason why this should be considered as a lost and hidden album of the genre.There are certain African/Indian influences with the sitar and banjo occasionally creating imaginery soundscapes of the past and the vocals are nice, but the lack of energy, the rather minimalistic textures and the outdated sound actually make Langsyne sound pretty pale.

Froese and Naehle tried to resurrect the band a few times after its demise in 1977 and they teamed up briefly in 1992, when this album was re-released on Lost Pipedreams.Together they recorded a handful of new pieces, 15 short ones made it to the Garden of Delights reissue many years later.The stylle follows more or less the same style, mainly acoustic Folk with lots of acoustic tunes, maybe with an updated sound, even flirting with the works of MIKE OLDFIELD or RICCARDO ZAPPA at moments.

Not a really great effort.This is acidic Psych/Folk with an unfocused direction, mainly structured to be performed with nice vocals and trippy orientations, but lacking the actual depth.Recommended only to fans of the style.

 A Handful Of Beauty by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.62 | 35 ratings

A Handful Of Beauty
Shakti With John McLaughlin Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars This is really the first album I ever heard of any type of jazz fusion and I loved this music from the very first listen. After the dissolution of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin became obsessed with playing Indian classical music after already having studied and learning how to play the classical Indian stringed instrument called the veena. This ultimately led him to the project SHAKTI where he found three extremely talented Indian musicians to accompany him. Zakir Hussain handled percussion and tabla duties. Lakshminarayana Shankar totally abused the violin and on this release Vikku Vinayakram handled additional percussion duties as well. John had a custom-made steel-string acoustic guitar made especially for the sounds he wished to achieve in this type of fusion band. The guitar featured two tiers of strings over the sound hole like those of a sitar or a veena which created a sound that corresponded better to the Indian instruments.

The band released a live debut album and then released two studio albums in 1977 with A HANDFUL OF BEAUTY being the very first. This album begins with the a firestorm konnakol (the art of performing percussion syllables vocally in South India) that begins "La Danse Du Bonheur" which immediately reminds of the energetic ferocity of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the perfect opener for a band whose name is Sanskrit for "energy." The intensity that the musicians of the band deliver is absolutely incredible to say the least. The beauty of this band is that not only is this an East meets West affair but it is also a Northern India meets Southern India one as well. These musicians seamlessly marry Western jazz with the Hindustani classical styles of Northern India and the Carnatic classical styles of Southern India.

The album drifts from energetic passages beginning with the opening track to more mellow and pastoral moments as heard on "Lady K" and "Isis." The interplay between instruments is always perfect and the harmonies, melodies and rhythms take you on a wild ride through various time signatures and more haunting drawn out percussionless sections. At times some of the passages do outstay their welcome but overall the tracks are well paced.

At the time this was widely acclaimed for exposing western jazz lovers to the ragas and musical textures that traditional Indian music had to offer and guarantees energetic and well-played performances. If you have never been exposed to much Indian music before this then you may be put off for this can be intense but also sensually beautiful at the same time. If you have had the chance to fall in love with classical Indian artists such as Ravi Shankar and love the idea of a world fusion sound with incredibly fast and virtuosic performances than this will truly satisfy all those itches. I for one am still lovin' this one after many years of listening to it and am still completely awed by both the beauty of the emotional depth and the technical prowess of each talented individual involved.

 Remember Shakti - Saturday Night in Bombay by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Live, 2001
3.44 | 11 ratings

Remember Shakti - Saturday Night in Bombay
Shakti With John McLaughlin Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Prog 74

2 stars Remember Shakti? Actually no I don't. This is my first encounter with them. However, I would like to go on record and say that I dig Indian music and I also dig jazz-fusion, so naturally I wanted to hear this Jazz-Fusion-Indian album. Shakti was initially a fusion project between phenomenal jazz guitarist John McLaughlin and some Indian musicians in the 1970s, but disbanded after a few years. Some 20 years later Shakti reunited and one of the results of that reunion is this particular live album. Having not heard their 70s albums I cannot comment on how this compares to those older albums, but I do know that this live album is a pretty fascinating experience. The two tracks I want to point out are Shringar and Bell' Alla. These are both quite exceptional. McLaughlin is really on fire here and plays his guitar as if it was a sitar. Rather convincingly I might add. The other two tracks are non-essential and both feature a vocalist singing in a particular scat style that becomes a little annoying after awhile. I've never been a fan of scat singing personally. This album is not really essential for progheads unless of course they are a little bit curious about jazz-inflected Indian music.
 Transcendence by LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.00 | 1 ratings

Lamp Of The Universe Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by twseel

— First review of this album —
2 stars Lamp of the Universe is a project from New Zealand led by musical pioneer Craig Williamson, who creates psychedelic, raga-influenced music under this moniker. He has been making albums all by himself since the start of the millennium, with a sound ranging from acoustic dreampop to lengthy raga drones to spacey psych rock. 'Transcendence' is his 8th full-length production and it shows the decrease in quality that has been going on over his last few albums being set through, with six uninspired, quite uninteresting songs not really going anywhere. The style employed here is also not too interesting, a pretty basic psych rock/raga crossover.

'Pantheist' opens the album. It's made up of a classic psychedelic sound mixed with some unconventional instruments and a warm wall of sound. On itself it's not at all a bad piece, not very interesting either but still a worthy song.

Then comes the second track, 'Creation of Light', and what do we find here? This song sounds exactly the same as the first one. The same instruments sound the same(except for the addition of the recorder and synthesizer), the singing goes on with the same monotonous voice and the wall of sound keeps up with almost no variation. It's like listening to a seven minute mediocre song twice in a row.

The third song, 'Transcendence', again comes in with a similar slow, thick vibe, although it does have more prominent drumming that carries the song a bit better. On itself it's one of the better pieces on the album, just because the melodies are lighter and catchier, but it doesn't add much to the album as a whole as it basically just continues with the same sound that is used throughout the rest of it.

'The Sign of Love' is another slowly dragging composition with some interesting spacey effects, some nice acoustic parts and dark synthesizer lines, but for the rest of it it's just another continuation of the boring theme.

Luckily, there is 'Samsara Born'. In this song Craig only uses his voice and acoustic guitar and some sound effects to create a soft, minimal atmosphere. It's a necessary break from the constant wall of sound of the first few songs and has a positive effect on the album. It is, however not very good.

'Beyond The Material World' brings back the wall of sound and makes it thicker than ever before so that it makes for an epic conclusion. It's quite a pleasant song, has more power than the others and could therefore be considered one of the highlights.

Overall, Lamp of the Universe delivers a mediocre, boring release. If you are interested in this artist, I recommend you start with the earlier albums like 'Echo in Light' or 'Heru'. This album is only recommended for you if you are already a fan or desperately need some psych rock. Two stars.

 Regina Astris by CLIVAGE, ANDRE FERTIER'S album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.02 | 15 ratings

Regina Astris
Andre Fertier's Clivage Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An intriguing mixture of Indian classical music and jazz fusion, undercut with sinister synthesiser undertones. This one's a little less playful than Mixtus Orbis, nor does enjoy the orchestral backing that album did, so it's a leaner, meaner, somewhat sparser beast. Andre Fertier as bandleader offers up guitar and keyboards, though I have to say I find the keyboard work a bit more impressive, whilst the rest of the band do a credible job of keeping up. "Regina Astris" means "Queen of the Stars", and there's certainly a spacey side to the band's sound here which makes this an intriguing and evocative trip.
 Natural Elements by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.05 | 82 ratings

Natural Elements
Shakti With John McLaughlin Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by admireArt

5 stars A balanced performance that goes beyond the "exotic", this, as mere MUSIC (without tags), is awesome. The indo-raga/prog element is pure in its source, and yet, the song writing, kidnaps the whole experience fom its limits (as all tagged things suffer of) with sheer genius. All the musicians are top players, close to virtuous, but they are too professional, to exceed or pretend to be "main characters" in the process of creation. This by turn makes it unrepeatable, unique and an unforgettable audiophile experience, and it all has to do with music composition.

John McLaughlin's restrains himself from his natural "speed", in able to follow Lakshminarayana Shankar's vioin or viola, and it turns out to be far more interesting without it. He displays one of his most perfected acoustic performances. Of course, this is all due to the fact that L. Shankar's performance is impeccable, and most of the time he delivers the "wild' and "spiritual" side of the album. The percussive side runs like magic with Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram and both alongside Shankar are the vocal section of the ensemble.

Since this album appeared in my Prog/collection, I have not found something so free of its roots without losing its own identity. To be so Prog, without the obvious instrumentation, I insist, has to do with the undercovered side of music composition, therefore the instant connection to any kind of ears, more if they are "Prog" or "World".

Still waiting for something more from Shakti in this kind of genius level. *****5 PA stars.

 Mixtus Orbis by CLIVAGE, ANDRE FERTIER'S album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.55 | 43 ratings

Mixtus Orbis
Andre Fertier's Clivage Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Imagine the Mothers of Invention at their most serious and technical - say, as on the King Kong suite on Uncle Meat - and sprinkle on Indian instrumentation and musical traditions to back up the jazz fusion foundations, and you might arrive at something close to the furious workouts captured on Clivage's Mixtus Orbis. Andre Fertier's group share the billing with an orchestra, which lends some classical sweep to the intense playing on offer here. I often find progressive rock incorporating elements of Indian music to be a clumsy, hit and miss affair, but here Fertier seems to hit on a more successful version of the approach John McLaughlin took with Shakti - combining fast-paced Indian music with similarly rapid fusion to create an intriguing mix.
 Mixtus Orbis by CLIVAGE, ANDRE FERTIER'S album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.55 | 43 ratings

Mixtus Orbis
Andre Fertier's Clivage Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars I'll jump on the masterpiece bandwagon with this one. It is truly musical ecstasy from beginning to end. This is very much Indo-Raga, but the jazz-fusion element is just as if not more prevalent. But it is also minimalism as it reminds me of Terry Riley, Steve Reich or Philip Glass because it is very drone-oriented and the complexity comes from the sheer number of sounds overlaying each other including haunting female vocals of the sort you would hear on the original 60s Star Trek theme.

It starts out innocently enough with just a piano but then is joined by a violin, then a tabla. Every instrument repeats in loops. As more instruments come in, it allows other ones to go into variations. With nine different instruments on the album you can imagine how rich it becomes. The tension builds and builds into a sonic frenzy. The last track has the same formula but some exotic chanting is included.

Wow. At just over 30 minutes long divided into two longer and two shorter tracks, it goes by way too fast. It seems like it's just getting started and then it's all over leaving you torn between the ecstasy of having heard such beautiful music and the meloncholy of knowing this is so obscure it hasn't seen the light of day on CD and that this was a fleeting moment in time that will never be repeated exactly like this again.

 Ayahuasca by PELT album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.02 | 3 ratings

Pelt Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

3 stars Into the black pool

Ayahuasca is the brew used by the Indian shamans in South America. While it's purpose traditionally is one of religious catharsis and enlightenment, it has been used by many travellers, trippers and seekers of truth or bewilderment by unconventional methods. I am no Indian, nor have I ever been lucky enough to frequent the lush rainforest where these peoples try their best to be one with the all encompassing greenery, but I must confess to having experimented with all sorts of mind-bending elixirs.

This album will probably take you the closest to the experience of the fever induced tripping of the sacred Indian liquid. It takes a lot of effort though - a lot of patience and will to submerse oneself into the murky darkness of the music and one's own bottomless brain-pit. It's like watching a Jackson Pollock painting - without start or end the haphazard splatters of colour explodes in all directions; a series of unprecedented energies and events that you're never going to fathom nor explain - they're there and that's it. Like life itself, a tree, a sidewalk with people passing by in an endless array of solemn faces, umbrellas and high heels clicking. Where do you turn in the great big mush of energy and events?

This may sound strange to some of you, but then again you just might be the ones searching for answers in places where there aren't any, merely presence and event. Transcribed into music, that's exactly what you get on this record. A big slice of primordial soup - a mountain of gelatinous mass that gels on by you like a strange encounter with a dream made up of fog and things you can't pick out. Sawing, droning modal guitar experiments dragging themselves forth with a sluggishness comparable to a stoned immaculate sea slug. Bowed metal sounds and intermittent tape effects that startle you in a hazy manner, like nearly awakening in your dream and then not really - as if your ninja lover is pouring thoughts of sand down your ear tunnel while you're setting sails on the black and blue oceans of Fantasia. Meditative slowly unfolding cello screeches emanating - frightening like horror movie gestures and highly vocal felines in the hours before dawn.

The thicket unveils at certain points as strummings of acoustic guitar suddenly emerge and re-enact musical familiarity. A folk note becomes present and colours turn into colours - definable sound that opens up the avantguarde canvas. The feel is that of ease - you've made it through the dark and are on your way into sunshine and reality, for then only to swoop back into the breach. It's a relentless journey spanning through 2 discs of some 2 hours and 10 minutes, where heads are tails and the other way around...simultaneous and then not really. Like I said, it takes a real effort, courage and patience to finish this trip.

This music is equal measures indistinguishable and enormous. It sounds like giant ferries of the mind docking in unseen places. There's no reference points, no melodies, no red line, no real sense of direction........yet it edges its way into your subconsciousness like a sonic botfly on the prowl - digging burrowing down into your head. If you blink the sensation eludes you - the feeling gets lost and the trip is over, but if you start out with closed eyes and with an open mind - ready for submersion into the black pool, then this will take you into strange beautiful places that are normally only saved for dream-catching spirit quests and people who seek them through holy liquids and the feathered shaman holding your hand.

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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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