Exposé Online banner

Bobby Beausoleil — Voodoo Shivaya
(Ajna Offensive Flame 101, 2019, 2CD / 2LP / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-04-22

Voodoo Shivaya Cover art

“Bad breaks and hard knocks, it’s been a long hard road” are the opening lyrics on “Hard Road,” a dark, bluesy number that opens the first disc of this two disc set, lyrics that are coming straight from Bobby Beausoleil's heart. The bulk of the album came together behind prison walls between 2008 and 2015, with some collaboration on a few of the cuts, and then a couple additional years to arrange the release and subsequent distribution. Unlike many of Beausoleil’s previous releases, which have been reliant on synthesizers, Voodoo Shivaya was created without them, instead with multiple layers of electric guitar, basses, occasional electric piano played by Beausoleil, with guests providing (track depending) nylon string acoustic guitars, drums, organ, violin, and additional bass and percussion. And those haunting dark vocals, a little scratchy but truly emotion filled, make those tracks with lyrics truly come to life, conveying some of the pain of his fifty years of incarceration. Not all of the songs are originals, in fact “Nature Boy” on the first disc is written by Eden Ahbez, made popular in the late 40s by the venerable Nat King Cole. This is followed by an absolutely brilliant nine minute instrumental rock jam titled “Ghost Highway,” which is then followed by a thirteen minute interpretation of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.” Most will be familiar with the Creedence version, but this one is a much slower paced rendition with Beausoleil’s dark and somewhat sinister vocal delivery being the icing on the cake. The second disc opens with the four minute Indian flavored instrumental (meaning bells, hand drums, and sitar-ized guitars) that takes the listener to a whole new level, vaguely reminiscent of some of his early works with the Orkustra. Switch to some thoughtful poetry that opens the album’s title track, that then switches to a cosmic jam at the two minute mark and carries forward for seventeen additional minutes; here (in fact on the entire second disc) Beasoleil plays all the instruments including hand drums, percussion, layers and layers of guitars, and lots of effects, with dreamy atmospheric guitar melodies soaring through the night skies as the piece proceeds, one almost doesn’t want it to ever end. The instrumental “Saundaria Lahari” closes the second disc, another widescreen explorative piece featuring a variety of exotic instrumentation, with beautiful melodic guitar improvisations in a swirling maelstrom of shimmering musical cosmic dust. It’s something I could listen to forever in an endless loop, but sadly it ends after 22 minutes. All taken, the two discs of Voodoo Shivaya take the listener on a magical journey that reaches out in many new and mysterious directions.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Bobby Beausoleil

More info
http://www.bobbybeausoleil.com/voodoo-shivaya.html

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Henry Cow - Western Culture – By the time they got to 1978 and the recording of Western Culture, Henry Cow were in the process of breaking apart. Fortunately for us, they saw the project through to its completion, for it is full...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues