Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
...And so my sitar obsession continues. Here we have so British boys coming together to play with the sounds of India. Sagram consisted of a sitar, guitar, and tabla combo, and sitarist Clem Alford apparently spent time in India receiving some proper training. I'm sure an Indian musicologist could find some fault with this music in respect to formal structure and such (I did notice that "Morning Glory" pretty much directly quotes the Beatles "The Inner Light"), but it all sounds pretty good to my ear. The cover art suggests straight up psychedelic exploitation, but the music is something entirely different. There's not many pop or rock sounds on this LP, if any. I love psychedelic exploitation art, but usually find the music included to be crap, so I consider this a nice surprise even if the art and music don't match. And no, the well-mustached harem king on the cover is not a member of Sagram, although it would be kind of awesome if he was.
While the music here is very well performed and pleasant, the sounds are pretty uniform. You certainly won't hear the variety you might expect from someone like Ali Akbar Khan or Ravi Shankar. It sounds kind of like the house band at a groovy Inidan restaurant in London, with the music floating on well-played, but non-confrontational table grooves - the better to digest your curry, y'know. "The Universal Form" does manage to take a different direction, propelling itself on a much airier, ethereal sound.
While there's nothing here to write home about, this is a very enjoyable album for you sitar fans to explore. As a side note, the musicians here also made up the backing band on the Magic Carpet LP, which you'll find here. There's a lot more Western influence on that one, but Sagram finds a more comfortable home on my turntable (well, mp3 player really).