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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2012
John McLaughlin's 4th Dimension is one of his longest-running line-ups, centred on his partnership with keyboardist (and occasional drummer) Gary Husband, backed up by a series of bassists and drummers. The ensemble's 2010 offering, To The One, displayed a focus and consistent level of energy perhaps not seen in McLaughlin's albums since his Mahavishnu and Shakti output, even down to the sombre, pared down CD cover.
The cover of Now Here This shows McLaughlin in relaxed mood, posing with one of his favourite guitars. But the music herein does not let up in any way on its predecessor. Trancefusion kicks off with some high-energy guitar and drum improvisation before settling in to a complex time signature rock riff that must have made McLaughlin's entire day when it first came to him. Echos (sic) From Then combines a melody that could have come off To The One with descending arpeggio triplets that are pure Mahavishnu, as is the subsequent 7/8 rhythm'n'blues riffing. Guitar Love is one of the album's highlights, again starting with Mahavishnu arpeggios segueing into a swinging blues riff.
There are two significant developments on this album as compared to To The One (apart from being available on vinyl). First, Mark Mondesir has been replaced by Ranjit Bharot, frequently described as the "Indian powerhouse drummer". This is certainly accurate, but he lacks his predecessor's deft touch and witty interplay with McLaughlin and Gary Husband that made To The One such a joy. Second, McLaughlin has apparently switched from playing Godin guitars (a brand he originally picked up due to their advanced MIDI compatibility) to a Paul Reed Smith guitar, which he has described as "about as close to perfection as is possible". This is essentially a return from the super-strat Godins to a Les Paul-style guitar. The result is a grittier tone and, if such a thing is possible, even greater fluency on the fingerboard. On tracks like Call And Answer, McLaughlin seems to revel in playing this guitar more than ever. Quite simply, the playing on this album is astonishing in its energy and musicality as for its virtuosity. A definite Buy!
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
Oh dear...this is what I call a typical Abstract Logix album,high on group interplay and musicianship but utterly lacking in emotion and soul.After the excitement of John re-discovering his self ( and his guitar sound) on the last album ( after too many poor efforts) I'd expected this re-birth to continue..but no.We revert to the usual tired cliches and frenetic interplay.Am I the only one who thinks that the drums are mixed way,way too far in the front and are too loud? Less is more,fellas..really. Add John's obsession with the dreary synth/guitar ( why doesn't he just play that wonderful electric guitar more?) and it's just another fusion album.No soul,no emotion however many difficult notes they play.Have they all forgotten why the jazz fusion movement ( thankfully) fizzled out in the mid to late seventies??? Mahavishnu proved that high levels of musicianship could sit happily with emotion in music..as did Shakti but this? It's all very clever and no doubt some will wonder at the frenetic interplay but it's sterile,going through the motions fusion..I've heard it all before on many occasions.Sorry John,you're still my hero but go back to the basics,throw away that synth guitar and get back to producing music that moved us,that changed our lives.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
I have been following John McLaughlin since the good ol' Mahavishnu Orchestra days, and there are well-known reasons why they won't return, but John says in Guitar Player Magazine (I think) that this is his life statement up to this point. Like many technically erudite tour-de-force albums, this one is very sophisticated and technically baffling in its difficulty, but there are no memorable lyric lines, no soulful, soaring melodies, with the immaculate rhythm section pumping it up to the stratosphere. It's the same critique that can be applied to Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and others who have the chops, but don't write hit songs, because you can't remember how they go. In comparison, Neil Young's melodies are very simple, yet they burn into your soul and run in your heart for days. This is more of a listen-in-the-car-on-a-trip CD than something to get into in the living room. But it's still very good and is state-of-the-art fusion jazz - a much needed dose of clarity in an otherwise rap, country and fizzy pop infested soundscape.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2012
Another great record by John Mclaughlin. Amazing playing all around and a high energy level in most of the tunes. Amazing grooves and interplay between all four musicians. I love Ranjit on drums.....but I loved Mark Mondesir with John as well. I am going back and forth over whose drumming i prefer. Both incredible players. Gary Husband's acoustic piano playing is excellent in Trancefusion. I wish they had used the acoustic piano more throughout this cd,instead of some of the electronic keyboards used. However kickass playing from Gary all around. Etienne is an absolute monster on bass. John's playing is fiery hot all over this cd. Man he has showed no signs of slowing down. The man's playing is so damn tasty and he clearly still has all of his chops A Master of the guitar indeed. (I would still like to hear him play some nylon string guitar as well though, as he did when Trilok was with him.) "Now Here This" is a great cd for any guitar and music lover. Just get it already!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2012
If you like jazz-fussion, this is your record. Mclaughlin come back better than ever. Full of energies and ideas. Sure is the best with 4th Dimention. Gary Husband is a perfect pianist for fusion. Etienne is great on bass and Ranjit Barot is powerful on drums. Even the ballads are strong. The melodies are great and the rimth is crazy. "Now,Here, This" is Mclaughlin better than ever. A miracle in his career , now after 50 years, he still and the top.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
It's tough to believe that an accomplished musician and bandleader like JM would allow the persistent and excessive 'crash cymbal' to subvert the underlying guitar and musicianship expected in the album. If the goal was to hide the flaws or substandard playing, mission accomplished. Really too bad. I had to use a graphic equalizer to control the harshness of the continuous crash cymbal to the detriment of the rest of the music. Much more would have been added with less of the drum and cymbal choices. Let's call it being out of sync with the heart of the music.
A very fine effort distorted by an overbearing crash cymbal. If you can unmix the persistent high frequencies, there's good music in there somewhere.
Three stars to reflect the potential. JM is better - much better - than this production.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
Now Here This does definitely come from the same type of vision that resulted in Industrial Zen, Floating Point, To the One, and even Five Peace Band. McLaughlin has lots of energy and drive with his current direction, and of course there's no question about the chops still being there. There's no let up by the guy who powered the Mahavishnu Orchestra, dazzled with Shakti, charmed with the Translators, grooved with the Free Spirits, and scored classical pieces.
My joy with Now Here This centers on the fact that several of the compositions seem to be particularly inspired. They come from the deep place that McLaughlin goes to write and produce pieces that are more than vehicles for the great virtuosity he and his cohorts can bring to just about anything they might play.
Many guitarists have astonishing technique, and John opened the door for lots of them. Having said that, the thing that I've always loved about him is the inspired writing that he's capable of. McLaughlin compositions through the years like Lotus Feet, Nostalgia, Earth Ship, Zamfir, The Daffodil and the Eagle, Guardian Angels, and Letter from India have been what have always kept me coming back to his new releases. Now Here This has 3 such pieces in Wonderfall, Not Here Not There, and Guitar Love. What great compositions!
Of course there's lots of burning playing on Now Here This, and those who look at guitar playing as an athletic event will have lots to admire. The band is terrific throughout and I hear no problem out of the transition from Mondesir to Ranjit Barot. I hope McLaughlin keeps going as he ages (along with the rest of us). He's got a lot left in the tank and can still inspire. I selfishly hope that he'll tour with this current 4th Dimension in the US so we can hear some of these recent tunes get their due in a live setting.
Buy this cd, and support this wonderful artist and music!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2012
Once again John McLaughlin has given us music full of inspiration and passion. This album is not simply a follow up to To The One (a brilliant album inspired by John's love of Coltrane's music). Instead John continues to move into new territory, here aided by an updated band and a new PRS guitar. John's chops are legendary and he adds new flavors to his playing on Now Here This (did I hear some Beck inspired playing in there?).

The fact that John continues to raise his own personal bar for musical expression is incredible. As always he surrounds himself with fantastic musicians. Barot's drumming is powerful and propels the music. Gary Husband's playing, especially on acoustic piano, is a great compliment to John's music. Etienne Mbappe's bass playin is simply stunning (Check out Call and Answer to hear him solo).

In 1971, Inner Mounting Flame announced an amazing force in music named John McLaughlin. Now 41 years later, let there be no mistake, that force has not diminished. Thank You John!!!
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2012
Magnificent collection of music. Most of this album is cut live in the studio. John and the 4th are at the top of their game and at their improvisational best. The playing is phenomenal. If you are a John McLaughlin fan buy this immediately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2013
Superb music. McLaughlin continues to push the envelope. Dazzling. Exquisite. Each time I listen to it, I find new levels of complexity and beauty.
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