In general, I feel that the entire world music scene suffers from
a lack of ingenuity and fresh ideas. Not so with Bhakti Rasa,
a Maha-Shakti band hailing from Denver, Colorado. Their debut release,
Nectar Ov Devotion, is packed with brilliant polyrhythmic drumming
and pleasing stringed instruments. The record creates an intense mood
of spiritual energy, at times trancey and meditative, at others highly
sensual and danceable. The band is made up of relative unknowns in
the musical world: Jivananda on electric sitar and guitars,
Ronnie Nelson on bass and synthesizers, and Denver music scene
long-timer George Edwards (formerly of New Ben Franklins
and Time Beings) on percussion.
The music is nothing short of incredible. The rhythms are driving
and beautifully varied, while the synthesizer creates nice pads and
perfect atmosphere on which the sitar can rest. "Hari Bol"
is a slice of sitar-heavy delight, bringing to mind the salad days
of The Mission UK (Children) and simultaneously infusing
the body with a need to swirl hips and dance in some wild rumpus.
The drums are sentient and ever evolving, while the bass keeps a steady
throb and the sitar weaves its tangible spell about the listener.
While the beginning songs focus more on tribal and ethnic rhythms,
the album makes a turn towards more modern fare with tracks like "Eala
Dance", bringing more synthesizers in, and creating music that
could sit readily in a DJ's club set.
Nectar Ov Devotion is filled with tracks that could just as
soon inspire belly dancing and pagan mysticism as it could pull the
right audience onto the dancefloor to grind away in tribal ecstasy.
The only real shortcoming of the record is the banal and self-serving
cover of "Dancing Barefoot". The production on that track
is poor, and the riffs redundant and lifeless. I prefer Bhakti Rasa
in all their original glory, without the trappings of more pop oriented
1. Intro Hari Bol
2. Hari Bol
3. Shiva's Blush
6. Harem Of Fire
7. Dancing Barefoot
8. Eala Dance
9. Durga Lila
10. Real Mirage
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