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Nectar: Live Kirtan & Pagan Remixes

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Album Review

There's an irony in the fact that Uttal's least obviously commercial album is his most heartfelt. Most of the tracks were recorded live at a yoga school, with Uttal on harmonium and vocals (accompanied by percussionist Geoffrey Gordon on percussion) leading a session of kirtan chanting. It's spiritual, moving, and truly does take the listener to another place, especially the longer tracks, like "Radha Ramana Hari Bol," which runs almost 12 minutes, or the 25 minutes and 39 seconds of "Om Namah Shivaya," which really does seem to reach a state of ecstasy. There's a simple beauty about it that surpasses Uttal's other releases, perhaps because it comes from the soul. Musically, however, the biggest interest comes from the remixes of the chants. "Radha Remix," from longtime Uttal friend Ben Leinbach, is a lovely, twisting journey of the spirit, while "Big Wheel Remix," from Pagan Love Orchestra bassist Keith McArthur, is a different kettle of nirvana, bumpier, switching, and changing, settling into a thick groove only to move on restlessly. The most intriguing of the remixes, though, has to be the "Namah Om Remix" by Rob Vlack, who has previously worked with Uttal in the Pagan Love Orchestra. Paring the epic cut to a mere three minutes and 23 seconds, he redesigns it as late-'60s psychedelic pop — a place where George Harrison's "The Inner Light" blends with Lennon's "Dear Prudence" in the ashram. It's a glorious piece of pop music, surviving with its spirituality intact (the samples at the end include the chants of old men and children), making a wonderfully happy and uplifting closer. Not many artists would gladly relinquish control of part of their album — more kudos to Uttal for having the guts to do it. But then, not many would have made a record like this in the first place.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jai Uttal has played Motown songs in cover bands and busked for change on the streets. Both of those experiences have stood him in good stead for his musical career, which finds his music straddling the divide between world and new age. Born in New York City in 1952, Uttal grew up in the music business -- his father worked for a record label -- and at the age of seven he began piano lessons. Those were followed by banjo, guitar, and harmonica as Uttal began to discover American roots music, most...
Full bio
Nectar: Live Kirtan & Pagan Remixes, Jai Uttal
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, New Age
  • Released: 01 December 2000

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