Shiva Shakti’s Shiva Shakti

cover art Shiva ShaktiHey man, don’t bogart that joint! This is some far out stuff. Shiva Jones, ex of the “mystical rock band Quintessence” and his musical partner Swiss recording artist Rudra Beauvert have combined their efforts to create a new mystical, almost psychedelic album of transcendent atmospheric rock.

Forgive me if I refer back to the past; Shiva Shakti (the band and the album) refer to the past with every breath. And yet, the crisp production and contemporary arrangements pull the songs firmly into the present. Not many groups these days are writing songs called “Magic Carpet Ride” or “The Seer” but here you’ll find both those titles, and more.

Shiva (Phil) Jones had a hit record in Australia with his band Phil Jones and the Unknown Blues in 1965. He then was part of Quintessence, which folded in the mid 70s, after sharing stages with Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and others. He formed Kala, which split with management problems, and then Jones returned to Australia to study the didgeridoo. He uses the didgeridoo to achieve a spiritual end, and has brought that essentially Australian instrument into the very European mix of Shiva Shakti.

Swiss artist Rudra (Ralph) Beauvert might be known to some readers for his work with Mooncowisms, or maybe not! Either way, these two eccentrics have joined forces to create a very intriguing sound. It’s a sort of an electronic jambalaya of moods and melodies, riffs and sound effects. A bell, a beat, a rhythm, spiritual, seeking lyrics and repetitive melody. Is it chanting? Nearly, not quite. Most of the sounds are produced by synthesizers and samples. There’s the odd guitar, but heavily treated. A harmonica on one track. And Jones’s vocals, which are strong, smooth and confident.

The lyrics are by turns poetic, obscure, jokey, meaningful, riotous.

If all the words could be told
could he tell them all in a thousand years?
or laugh so long
his tears wold set his eyes aglow
know the seer (“The Seer”)

A high on Mount Kailash
horizons on fire
out of the mist and out of the clouds
filling the morning sky
as desires all begin to die
fire and air
beyond rebirth (“High on Mount Kailash”)

x+y=pi, x+y=pi
what is the meaning of this pi? (“More Than Meets the Eye”)

Earthlings got no place in this world of primates
steal your bananas
they build concrete cabanas (“Orango Tango”)

See what I mean?

And yet, it all sounds so great. Contagious. Mellow. Enveloping. You just want to turn it up, and listen, close the door, shut out the kids, and the neighbors, and the dog, and …

“Dave?…Dave?… it’s Sp!ke … oohhh…’e’s listening to Shiva Shakti again … shhhhh!”

(Mystic Records, 2003)

David Kidney

David Kidney was born in the Marine Hospital on Staten Island in the middle of the last century, when the millenium seemed a very long way off. His family soon moved to Canada, because the air was fresher. He has written songs and stories, played guitar, painted, sculpted, and coached soccer and baseball. He edits and publishes the Rylander, the Ry Cooder Quarterly, which has subscribers around the world. He says life in the Great White North is grand. He lives in Dundas in the province of Ontario, with his wife.

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