Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5
So, you see the cover and get the impression that you're in for a warped, hippy-mystic ride into the galactic sun. But no, that's just the exploitation aspect of this album kicking in. Just disregard the colours on the front and be ready for some ragas of the more traditional sort. This is straight-up Indian classical featuring only people that actually have business playing this stuff. Pandit Pran Nath was supposed to be a master of this kind of vocal raga, and he sounds fine. I'm not so sure that he was so used to recording, however, as he sometimes distractingly clears his throat or spews out a lugie between vocal parts. I would imagine that thise is a field recording, anyway - the proceedings are far from the hi-fi side and you also hear people moving around from time-to-time. I guess it gives everything an interesting, out-in-the-Indian-countryside sort of vibe.
I'm far from a scholar on Indian music, but I play a fair amount around here, and I think what we have here is a morning and and evening raga. I have to say that I prefer the first side. It's more of a gliding drone, while the second side is a bit more aggressive - well as aggressive as a droning raga's going to get. With the added output on side two, there is also more of the coughing and flemmy sounds that sort of pour a touch of corrosive acid through the proceedings.
I'll admit that I ended up listening to this one pretty much by express fascination with the trippy cover. There is plenty of old school trippy in the music, but don't listen expecting a late 60's experimental infusion. This is pretty much the real deal, served straight-up.