Quintessence – Ocean Of Bliss: An Introduction

Nostalgic compilation of first three albums from late-'60s raga rockers

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“Getting it straight in Notting Hill Gate, we all sit around and meditate,” sang Quintessence. At the time, W11 was London’s equivalent of Haight-Ashbury, and Quintessence provided the Ladbroke Grove counterculture with its soundtrack. Glorying in names such as Raja Ram and Maha Dev (Ron and Dave to their mums), the band played flute-led improvisational raga-rock with lyrics about lost continents and Indian mysticism. At their best, they were the nearest Britain got to its own communal-style Grateful Dead jam band. At their worst, they were hopelessly sloppy and indulgent. Either way, Ocean Of Bliss will remind you what a strange joy it was in that pre-New Age dawn to be alive.

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