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World Spirituality Classics Vol. 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda

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by Alice Coltrane

Feature Records for the week beginning Mon 5 Jun 2017

Alice Coltrane World Spirituality Classics Vol. 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (PBS Feature Record)

Spirituality was always central to the late Alice Coltrane’s music – much has been said of her role as muse to her husband John on his magnum opus A Love Supreme, a truly canonical work. As an artist who unfairly lived under the lengthy shadow of her husband, Alice Coltrane has posthumously come to be recognised as an equally potent creative force in her own right. And with good reason.

David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label has followed recent explorations into lesser-known global psychedelia from Os Mutantes, Shuggie Otis and William Onyeabor with the first in a series of World Spirituality Classics, with the release of Coltrane’s devotional recordings previously only available through her ashram as a series of self-released cassettes. This release, The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda¸ compiles a number of these recordings for a mass audience for the first time and will no doubt embolden her legacy as a great musical innovator. While firmly based in the traditional devotional songs of her faith, Coltrane’s skills as a musical polymath are on display here too, with sublime use of the legendary Oberheim OB-8 synthesiser featuring alongside masterful string arrangements, and the only recorded vocals from her storied career.

Aldous Harding Party (featured on The Breakfast Spread)

Music's been getting loud for a while now. The rapid growth in amp size at the end of the 1960s was pretty fun - even if it did create mutually-assured-destruction as band members pushed to be heard over each other. The loudness war of the 1990s had no such charm or tonal awareness as mastering engineers crushed recordings to a comical degree chasing commercial radio play. So in 2017 how do you get heard above the din as little bands load amp stacks onto foot-high bar room stages?? Aldous Harding does it by being quiet.

Her new record Party is as captivating as anything I've heard this year. It's a record that has the confidence to be itself. It doesn't need to demand your attention because sooner or later someone in your life is bound to let you know you need to hear it. And it'll be waiting there for you. Subtle, understated and immensely powerful it is an absolute joy to explore. It just keeps drawing you in - deeper and deeper. Every missed lyric is just an opportunity to pop it on for another listen. Aldous' songwriting paired with John Parish's production has created an incredibly detailed and textured record. Killer singles like "Horizon" and "Imagining My Man" go hand in hand with the stranger fruit on offer here.

Aldous Harding has delivered an astonishing album. It's also the best Party record not made by Andrew W.K

Review by Nick Brown (The Breakfast Spread)

This week's Top 10: 
Alice Coltrane - World Spirituality Classics Vol. 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda
Aldous Harding - Party
Tony Allen - A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Burial - Subtemple EP
Coldcut x On-U Sound - Outside the Echo Chamber
Chain and the Gang - Best of Crime Rock
Gonzo - Gonzo
Mika Vainio - Reat
New Savages - Baby Don't Lay Lonesome
Kite Base - Latent Whispers

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