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C.D. Reviews

Taj-Mahal Travelers -
July 15, 1972 compact disc
Showboat/Sky Station SWAX 501/TDCD 90621 (Japan)

CD cover image Not to be confused with the bluesman, the Taj-Mahal Travelers performed experimental music during the 1970s under the direction of Fluxus member Takehisa Kosugi. This is the first time this highly-sought album has appeared on CD. The group's instrumentation consists of electronically-treated acoustic instruments, as well as oscillators and sheet metal (as well something called a "suntool," which might be the source of some zither-like sounds), and heavily relies on time-delay effects to create psychedelic, expansive drones. Generally the music is successfully atmospheric, but occasionally instruments such as harmonica and electronic guitar hint at their familiar Western contexts when they don't contribute to the drone, thus distracting from the overall ambience (as well as disrupting the flow of the time-delay effects). Wordless vocals throughout help lend a sense of otherworldliness. The entire album is the result of a live recording, which I thought was notable because music of this nature seems more rooted in studio technique, not live performance.

Those who are familiar with Can's more experimental pieces (especially tracks like "Aumgn") might very well be interested, as Taj-Mahal Travelers work in a sonic territory with similar roots in experimental music.