MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA — Between Nothingness & Eternity (review)

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA — Between Nothingness & Eternity album cover Live album · 1973 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Abraxas
Between Heavy Jazziness & Uncomprehensible Complexity

Between Nothingness & Eternity is a ticket to, well, nothingness and eternity, passing through all the diversity and virtuosity this line-up could offer back in the 70s, yes the whole unbelievable deal: the speed-of-light passages, the ear-bleeding rhythms, the eternal duels between members John, Jerry and Jan, the heavy blastings riffs, the delicate and intriguing indo material, and the ocassional intricating jazzy grooves.

While the same tracks featured here were later released as studio versions on the Lost Trident Sessions album which do present the tracks as they were intended to be, without any jamming nor noodling plus a clean production, I consider Between Nothingness & Eternity to be a much more rewarding listen since the intensity and capacity the players show on this live experience is completely unique in it, which is totally withdrawn from the studio versions.

The live performance begins alike Birds of Fire and Inner Mountaing Flame, with the calling of the legendary gong and the trademark Mahavishnu introductory guitar lines, however after that it becomes all new and unpredictable: From frenetic up-lifting melodies to the never ending duels of electric guitar, electric piano and moog, and violin; nobody is better than the other, each member shows they're highly capable of playing demanding stuff but that's not it, they manage all this to make it appealing for the listener, even so that I'm sure that a 'serious' heavy rock fan of stuff like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and the like can get a tremendous kick out of the playing in here since besides being fusion, it rocks!

The concert moves on to 'Sister Andrea', a funkier treat as a whole, somewhat similar to the groovy but still heavy 'Miles Beyond' from Birds of Fire. While composed by Jan Hammer, there's still a lot of room for the rest of the band; an evolving beast-alike guitar solo from John at the beginning, a fast and somewhat dissonant violin solo in the middle and ending finally with a fascinating moog show-off by the composer himself of course, Jan.

The live show finalises with the 20+ minute extravagant track called Dream. It may seem a chaotic mess when you first listen to it, full of unnecessary self-indulging sections, frenetic passages that seems to be played by people who dare more than what all a man can dare of, and in the end it is that! However, once again they've managed, above all that uncomprehensible indulgement, to achieve an incredible unique jazz rock piece which is seemed to be played by raging gods, in which in the very end of the track these gods seem to reconcile and tune things down.

Final words of this overlooked live gem is that it's essential for any rock fan interested in listening to some of the wildest playing out there from the 70s played live, even if in parts it may seem incomprehensible. Not the best place to start though, but it's safe to purchase this after having bought and understood Birds of Fire and Inner Mountaing Flame.

An outstanding ''goodbye'' album from this unbelievable line-up, which no other band yet has showed such skill delivered in such a unique and rockin' way.
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