First two albums faithfully repackaged

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Quintessence

Of all the bands on Island Records’ impressive late-’60s roster, Notting Hill rock’n’ragamuffins Quintessence divided audiences more than most. Although many were enthralled by their rich blend of hippie drift and Eastern drones, others found their brand of religiosity a little over-earnest. A somewhat wayward rhythm section didn’t help either, but in flautist Raja Ram and guitarist Allan Mostert they had free-form instrumentalists of the highest calibre.

Raja Ram’s echo-unit bird song gave an early indication that he would end up making Goa trance records 20 years further down the line, while Mostert’s soaring, exploratory guitar work, particularly on the second album’s live tracks, resists all attempts from his more grounded colleagues to root it in stodgy 12-bar.