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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Mahavishnu Orchestra - Between Nothingness & Eternity - ****

When reading reviews about the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this would be one of the lesser albums according to the critics, their "death rattle", with "bad sound quality", "unsophisticated compared to the studio albums", that kind of bull shit. Well, critics, listen again to this album. Get up from your lazy chairs and now really listen to this album. This is music with the energy and power for which you had been waiting in vain in all the other Mahavishnu albums. All - and I choose my words carefully - all other Mahavishnu albums belong to the realm of Kitsch with a capital K, as I already wrote earlier, but this is the real deal. The studio has been the death of Mahavishnu, because McLaughlin could not possibly control himself and created horrors of intricacy, just like a housewife would add statuettes, picture frames and flower pots on the mantel piece, just to keep filling all this empty space, without any sense of esthetics or restraint. But this one is different. It is hard, it is sober, it is real. There are solos here at speeds that you can't fathom, and not only by McLaughlin, but by all musicians : Jerry Goodman, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Rick Laird, and the sublime thing is that this speed, this mad rage of note-crunching just does not stop, this is over forty minutes of a high speed train trip through the universe, thundering across the galaxies, shooting past everything and its grandmother. And the music? Forget about the music, that's not the point. Listen to these musicians, how they transform energy into sound, hard-hitting, fast, faster, fastest, with once in a while a slower piece just for the sake of tension. I wish I had been there, that evening in Central Park. Luckily the thing was recorded. Fly along!


Anonymous said...

I wish they'd release more live Mahavishnu recordings.

Why not a whole box set?

They really were better in concert than in the studio.