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Industrial Zen

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Album Review

The ever peripatetic and ever restless John McLaughlin returns again to the electric jazz field that he once commanded in the early '70s, while never quite landing on the same spot where he left off. A few of the familiar components are still whirring away — the dizzyingly fast and jagged unison themes; the furious interplay with his teammates, whose personnel change on every track. But the landscape has changed again: McLaughlin immerses himself deeply into the high-tech digital scenery, programming loops and backdrops (the mood piece "New Blues Old Bruise" is merely a sleeker impression of what Pink Floyd was doing more than three decades before). Those voices you hear on a few tracks are, of course, not real; they're sampled chorus effects as played through a controller of some sort (which anyone can do at home on a Yamaha keyboard these days). Memories of Shakti — McLaughlin's sporadically recurring Indian experiment — are hinted at but not recalled in toto as tabla master Zakir Hussain is called upon repeatedly, working himself into a frenzy on the 12-and-a-half-minute tone poem "Dear Dalai Lama." Saxophonist Bill Evans arrives from the 1980s version of Mahavishnu; he knows his way around the McLaughlin mazes of notes as well as anyone, and on the closing passage of "Just So Only More So," he and McLaughlin carry on a touching, conversational dialogue on their instruments. Hadrien Feraud pays effusive, voluble tribute to Jaco Pastorius, not only on the obvious title "For Jaco," but also on "Senor C.S." While Industrial Zen is a reminder to all that McLaughlin remains a formidable electric player in his sixties, the only track that really sticks in the memory is the last, "Mother Nature," with its electronic revolving ostinato and Shankar Mahadevan's keening vocal. Industrial Zen, indeed. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Another Winner

This is a great album. If you like high-energy, brilliantly played improvisational music this is well worth a listen. If you are already a John McLauglin fan this is a no-brainer. If you are new to John McLauglin’s music consider “The Inner Mountain Flame” or “Birds of Fire” as good introductions. John has been making exciting and important records for over 4 decades so you’ll have plenty of catching up to do.

Way to go John

I have been enjoying John Mclaughlin since the first Mahavishnu Orchestra album. His talent is tremendous yet some of his albums are not consistent. Industrial Zen is a wonderful electric jazz fusion album. It more closely resembles his fusion music than any of his music that I've heard in the past few years. John shines throughout this album with soul and guitar mastery. The last track Mother Nature which is more Indian is my favorite. If your into John Mclaughlin, I think you'll really enjoy this gem.


This release is dripping with creativity and energy. This is one of my best finds of the year.


Born: January 4, 1942 in Yorkshire, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of fusion's most virtuosic guitar soloists, John McLaughlin placed his blazing speed in the service of a searching spiritual passion that has kept his music evolving and open to new influences. Whether shredding on electric or simmering quietly on acoustic, McLaughlin's intensity and underappreciated versatility have nearly always kept his playing vital, and his best moments -- whether as a solo artist or bandmember -- represent some of fusion's greatest recordings. McLaughlin was born January...
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