Tuesday, 27 June 2017


My latest round of obsessive listening comes courtesy of David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label and their new compilation of Alice Coltrane devotional music recorded in the 80’s and 90’s. Despite one track sharing its title with her 1971 masterpiece Journey In Satchidananda, this collection of Ecstatic Music, taken from three self-released albums Divine Songs (1987), Infinite Chants (1990) and Glorious Chants (1995) has little to do with Alice’s signature astral jazz music; on the face of it, the blend of Tangerine Dream-esque synths, Eastern instrumentation and Krishna chants and mantras would be more in line with New Age, that most loathed of musical genres. But it’s good to have your prejudices trashed once in a while, and in some considerable style too - the music Alice composed primarily for an audience of religious devotees and scholars at the Vedantic Center, located in the hills of Santa Monica, is absolutely spellbinding, radiating the warmth and joy of American Gospel, and the sublime spacey futurism of analogue electronica. Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson are well known Alice fans (the closing track on sunnO)))’s Monoliths & Dimensions album is named after her) and I wonder were the long funereal Wurlitzer drones on the aforementioned Journey To Satchidananda (the slight variation on the names is noted) an inspiration for the opening track on the live Dømkirke album ? As well as extraordinary music, the album also serves as a rare outing for Alice’s gorgeous bluesy, yearning voice which alone marks these recordings as essential. World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda is available on all formats, (the CD and 2LP come with extensive liner notes) and can be sampled over at the dedicated bandcamp page


  1. Hey Wes, thanks for pointing me into this direction! I am mostly familiar with Alices' output during the seventies but have never heard about these. Great listen!

  2. Many thanks Sascha, and apologies for the late reply - I was on holidays ! Very nice to hear from you again !