In the western world, the word shakti is taken to mean creative intelligence, beauty and strength. Guitar marvel John McLaughlin, who collaborated with the unique Mahavishnu Orchestra to tell the world of his conversion to Hinduism, created music past comparison with Shakti. Despite the frenzy of mass oriental pilgrimages, it was still unusual that McLaughlins ensemble was made up totally of musicians from India.
As the title of the third and last album "Natural Elements" suggests, all the participants work with body and soul and make no use of electronic equipment that was so popular in the Seventies. The very real natural energy, which emanates from the flow of melodies and rhythms from both western and eastern musical sources, fires all the musicians. And it is completely intentional that a cheerful fiddle tune, which might well be heard in the Emerald Isle, is joined by plopping volleys of sound on the tabla, inviting one to dance, or that dampened mariachi jubilation appears to be enveloped in the meditative atmosphere of a temple.
The short, light and cheerful pieces on this LP provide easy listening and offer an ideal insight into the world of Shakti. These natural sounds, far from time and space, are still enjoyed today as is proved by the presence of a large audience at the concert "Remember Shakti", in which John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain celebrated their 40-year spiritual ties.
"The third and final Shakti recording from the '70s. The songs here are shorter than those on Shakti and Handful of Beauty, but no less impressive. The novelty of combining Eastern and Western musical styles had worn off and McLaughlin sounds comfortable. This allows for memorable compositions and interchanges, rather than the blistering virtuosity that characterized the first two releases. From the intense ("Daffodil and the Eagle") to the joyful ("Happiness Is Being Together"), Natural Elements stands as a milestone in McLaughlin's illustrious career." - allmusic.com
Selections: Side One: 1. Mind Ecology 2. Face to Face 3. Come On Baby Dance With Me 4. The Daffodil and The Eagle Side Two: 1. Happiness Is Being Together 2. Bridge of Sighs 3. Get Down and Sruti 4. Peace of Mind
Recording: July 1977 at Aquarius Studios, Geneva (Switzerland), by Jean Ristori Production: John McLaughlin