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

4.45 | 53 ratings
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
4.09 | 94 ratings
Shakti With John McLaughlin
4.16 | 28 ratings
4.29 | 14 ratings
Oriental Sunshine
4.68 | 6 ratings
Zendik, Wulf
4.32 | 9 ratings
Flute & Voice
4.02 | 18 ratings
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
4.25 | 8 ratings
Ossian / Osjan
4.00 | 18 ratings
4.30 | 7 ratings
Zendik, Wulf
3.85 | 26 ratings
Clark Hutchinson
4.48 | 4 ratings
3.88 | 15 ratings
4.08 | 7 ratings
Shankar, Ananda
3.98 | 9 ratings
Robertson, Don
4.20 | 5 ratings
Hortobágyi, László
4.20 | 5 ratings
Hortobágyi, László
4.02 | 7 ratings
Alford, Clem
4.00 | 7 ratings
Ossian / Osjan
3.98 | 6 ratings

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

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Third Ear Band
Magic Carpet
Lamp Of The Universe
Habibiyya, The

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Latest Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Music Reviews

 Silver Trees by ABSTRACT TRUTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 24 ratings

Silver Trees
Abstract Truth Indo-Prog/Raga Rock


4 stars Very good progressive rock from South Africa, tinged with Psychedelic and Jazz leanings similar in style with the sound of mid-Traffic or even Manfred Mann's Chapter Three. It's a period piece for sure but, considering the year (1970) and the place (South Africa) you can only admire the effort of the musicians participated. Check out also their first album of the same year Totum, but this one is more mature I think. Totum, had covers played with gusto, but this one contains only original compostions all of them full of moods and worth to mention. I particularly like the longest one " Silver Trees " also " Pollution " and " In A Space ". " Blue Wednesday Speaks " adds a more traditional South African style to the composition with very good results. It's a shame they couldn't go on. A nice addition to your Prog-rock collection.
 Shakti with John McLaughlin by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Live, 1976
3.45 | 43 ratings

Shakti with John McLaughlin
Shakti With John McLaughlin Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars John McLaughlin's first major reinvention of his musical vision occurred in 1976 when he hooked up with both Northern and Southern Indian musicians to create a new band called SHAKTI. Despite a lame looking cover and John's name attached for apparent recognition, the music is a give-and-take affair with each musician contributing his all to the whole. Out of the three albums they released in the 70s, the first simply titled SHAKTI WITH JOHN McLAUGHLIN was a live album displaying all members' abilities to shred like nobody's business. It is stunning that the live album and the studio albums are almost indistinguishable save the audience applause since the studio albums were basically recorded live on the spot.

This is a kind of music I seem to like more than most. It is true that of all the three albums there is not a lot of musical variation. You get lots of Indian percussion, violin solos reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and John's guitar skills breaking the sound barrier. All tracks are based on traditional Indian music of both North and South India with American jazz fusion added to the mix. The musicianship is outstanding and as a fan of technically challenging musical displays, I find this quite an exciting listen. If, on the other hand, you only have patience for one of these types of albums, I would head straight to the best of the lot, "Natural Elements" which is the most refined of the original three albums. I on the other hand find this just as good as the next album "A Handful Of Beauty." Great pacing of slow and fast with emotive passages allows a smooth listen from beginning to end. The well-seasoned musicians display their chops effortlessly and as a lover of classical Indian music AND jazz I dig this stuff a great deal.

 Lang'syne by LANGSYNE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.43 | 13 ratings

Langsyne Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars The German folk trio LANGSYNE from Wuppertal area never got support from record companies during their eight years of activity, but their self-budgeted sole album has become a valuable collector's item and has seen numerous re-releases on vinyl and CD. I was happy to receive the Garden of Delights edition with 15 (!) bonus tracks and an exhausting article. Not that I'd ever care to read all details about the various re-releases. I'm surprisingly only the third reviewer.

I couldn't invent a better name than the Scottish word for "long since" for this group, who doesn't sound German at all. Indo-Prog / Raga-Rock is a bit misleading category, as this is primarily Medieval / Renaissance -inspired folk. GRYPHON is mentioned as the trio's mutual idol, but the music comes closer to AMAZING BLONDEL, slightly seasoned with INCREDIBLE STRING BAND's Indo-flavoured psychedelia. Ethnic instruments such as psalter, sitar or koto are used to a small degree. Multiple acoustic guitars form the spine, even flute, organ and percussion are often put aside.

Perhaps the main album's long tracks are the clearest highlights in their melancholic and nearly mystic atmosphere. I prefer the earthly, unspectacular vocals and vocal harmonies over the oversweetness of Blondel. One guy occasionally resembles distantly Neil Young. Well, thankfully only a little.

Also the luxurious bonuses have a very good sound quality. Strangely the text doesn't seem to tell anything about them. They're much shorter in average: they take the same 39˝-minute space as the seven album tracks. They are less atavistic, more contemporary sounding songs and instrumentals. Instead of tasting like inferior bonus material as usual, they practically from a whole decent folk album of their own. A very worthy release to all friends of acoustic folk-rock and especially of the aforementioned British bands.

 Silver Trees by ABSTRACT TRUTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 24 ratings

Silver Trees
Abstract Truth Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars South African prog is not all that familiar to me. As in any country or continent there are bound to be acts playing something relating to the term progressive rock and Abstract Truth certainly is one of those.

Progressive rock in it's infancy is often pleasant. Sometimes complex and brilliant, sometimes only brilliant and on occasion simply pleasant. This album balances between brilliant and pleasant, with emphasis on the latter. Now, that is not bad at all. It is actually quite good. Really.

When I listen to "Silver trees" I get the same feeling as I do when I hear Tamam Shud. It is sort of fragile and shaky at times. That could be labelled charming and it could be labelled annoying. I find it, after all, quite charming. The music of Abstract Truth and Tamam Shud is connected in some ways. It holds specific trademarksof it's origins, in this case a flavor of african music in the track "Pollution", and that is, I think, great.

The music can be described as organ-laden progressive on the softer side. There are no real outbursts of heavy rock or anything like that. Instead it is melodious, very pleasant and very enjoyable. The album holds only a few real standouts of which "Silver trees" is the best and most epic, due to it's length. The remaining songs are all good but it all blends together a bit I feel.

The instrumentation is good, the vocals great and the overall feel is one of warmth and sincerity. This is progressive rock when it is in it's infancy and produced in a country and continent not primarily associated with that sort of music. I think that the album is sadly overlooked, actually. It is not the greatest of prog albums and certainly not the boldest or most complex of the lot. It is however a well constructed album, drawing influence from the '60's west coast and the comings of musical progression and lands in the same territory as Gracious!, Skin Alley and the likes.

Conclusion: Three solid stars and a plea to all of you to give it a spin.

 Natural Elements by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.09 | 94 ratings

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

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars For those who appreciate the skillfulness of Jean Luc-Ponty, seeking out Shakti is a must. Strictly speaking, and despite the Indian percussion, there are distinct stylistic characteristics from all over the world present, including Cajun, Irish, Caribbean, and Chinese, even though the entire album is tonally static. Everything present in this album is agreeable and consistent.

"Mind Ecology" Frenzied and technical guitar and violin race to keep up with the harried percussive instruments. The harmonies are staggering.

"Face to Face" Abandoning the wild abandon of the previous piece, John McLaughlin provides graceful strums to accompany an elegant, silky violin. Midway through it adopts the character of an Irish jig.

"Come on Baby Dance with Me" The title is appropriate, given the nature of this upbeat and sprightly caper.

"The Daffodil and the Eagle" One of the most industrious pieces, this alternates between rapid-fire guitar phrases and almost New Orleans-like slippery fiddling.

"Happiness is Being Together" Once again, McLaughlin takes to hammering out the rhythm while Shakti ascends to the farthest reaches of the neck and spirals back and forth all over it. Cheery vocals make an appearance in what sounds like a background music for a Caribbean cruise ship.

"Bridge of Sighs" Exploring a sullener style, "Bridge of Sighs" is occasionally folksy and occasionally bluesy.

"Get Down and Sruti" Alternating again between open, respiring rhythm and swift passages of guitar and violin, this piece keeps returning to a very happy theme while closing with rapid vocalizing.

"Peace of Mind" The album concludes with its most tranquil offering.

 Natural Elements by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.09 | 94 ratings

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

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The second studio album by SHAKTI pretty much picks up where "Handful Of Beauty" left off. It is basically a refined version of that album with the same layout of fast to slow tracks, however on NATURAL ELEMENTS everything the band did very well before is played perfectly here. The stars aligned and so did the musicians becoming comfortable with their daring and cutting edge indo-raga-prog-jazz-fusion collaborations. The call and response between instruments is impeccable, the songwriting is more interesting and there are more instruments to be heard as well adding extra layers of richness to the experience.

John McLaughlin sticks to his lightning fast acoustic guitar but Zakir Hussain adds more percussion instruments to the mix, Lakshminarayana Shankar picks up viola as well as violin and Vikku Vinayakram the ghatam and kanjeera to his percussion mix. The result of all this is that the band hasn't shifted gears and headed into new directions but simply refined the sound they had already mastered into musical perfection. I find this to be a perfect album. Every song is extraordinarily well-crafted and the album goes by too fast unlike the previous one that had parts that dragged on a bit too long. A huge hit in my world.

 Silver Trees by ABSTRACT TRUTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.60 | 24 ratings

Silver Trees
Abstract Truth Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A marked step above the preceding Totum, Silver Trees finds Abstract Truth in a more determinedly progressive mode, with a unique and curiously sparse sound loaded with fertile possibilities which, alas, would remain unexplored after this due to the group's untimely and unfortunate dissolution. Weaving together the softer side of early prog as represented by the likes of Jade Warrior or Traffic with a wider than average scope of world music influences, the album stands out for its reliance on flute, with no less than three of the four band members bringing the instrument to bear at points during the album's running time.

Unfortunately, the album relies a little too much on extended, repetitive motifs which aren't quite developed enough to save them from being irritating. If they'd persisted with this style they may have been able to accomplish something truly memorable with it, but as it stands this album has to stand as a more humble high water mark than the band perhaps deserved.

 Totum by ABSTRACT TRUTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.57 | 18 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
3.43 | 13 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 | 38 ratings

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

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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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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