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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Peter Hammill - Thin Air – Peter Hammill’s recent albums of home studio recordings always present a consistent delivery and song craft. This collection of nine pieces moves forward with a few unique tweaks and variations...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues