Saturday, 29 April 2017

Alice Coltrane - World Spirituality Classics 1꞉ The Ecstatic Music Of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, album review

Spiritual Statement

I have always been inclined to like such chanting musicality, probably first enthused by Quintessence, some George Harrison, then a host of others who over the past 40 years have taken on the ‘Krishna’ mantra from its most natural [just chant] to psychedelic wrappings.

This collection from over those same years by Alice Coltrane is therefore inherently beautiful to me, but it is also a gorgeous collection of ensemble chanting and musical embellishment, like opener Om Rama that is bathed in sweeping electronica, like spiraling sirens to pun a little, before moving into solo male vocal chant, echoed by the vocal ensemble, before ending on a heightened synth, so to speak.

Alice Coltrane leads on the second Om Shanti, a church organ setting an ironic, though not badly so, background for her beautiful chant, a fulsome and soulful wording. This then merges into the ensemble whole which is simply gorgeous, again. Third Rama Rama is similarly sweet with more orchestration and sitar with synth running the focal strain; fourth Rama Guru returns to an ensemble, with handclaps, setting. It is the mix of ‘studio’ and ‘live’ sounds that give variation, though it is all naturally set, naturally.

Further chants have a more distant sound, but the whole is exquisite and conveys such a wonderful sense of joyous community delivered through faith and music, a spiritual state of seemingly fundamental innocence as opposed to the fundamentalist proclivities elsewhere in our world today.

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