Adventures in Radioland Original recording reissued
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Top Customer Reviews
Same problems as the previous 80's Mahavishnu outing, mostly weak tunes, lots of high-tech gimmickry, painfully cheesy 80's sound quality (and those ABOMINABLE Simmons drums which sound like amplified pizza boxes) and precious little of the brilliance that Johnny Mac is typically known for.
"20th Century Limited" though is a notable exception and very welcome. "Florianaplois" suffers from a really cheesy sing-songy arrangement (not unlike something that would be played on a "Smooth Jazz" station) but oddly enough, it underwent a miraculous transformation with John's trio just a couple years later and came out a fire-breathing piece of great music! "Reincarnation" here with full snooze-inducing effect, was transformed by JM's trio into a breathtakingly beautiful meditative piece. "Just Ideas/Jozy" here suffers from high-tech clutter, later gets reworked by the Trio and regains it's plaintive funkiness. If only these original version were ANYWHERE near as good as the subsequent reworkings. The rest of the tunes are obviously calculated for radio-play at any cost, but just merely fall flat on their faces wallowing in gimmickrey and digital-synth overkill. The one thing different (though not enough to salvage the mess) is that JM wisely shelved that infernal Synclavier/Roland Digital Guitar Synth elephantine noisemaking miserable mechanism (read in Dr. Smith voice). Here he straps on a Les Paul Special for the most part, but unfortunately, his tone is so painfully tinny, metallic and lacking in warmth.
I will say this in its favor though, at least some of the tunes had good raw material that could be reworked into something substantial, otherwise, don't bother.
It haunts me to this day. Modern fusion at it's best, years ahead of it's time, or the pinnacle of the fusion era, I can't decide..
I love that John and crew were always searching, for the new and the vast within. There are many styles of music here to pick out in the mix, traditional guitar sounds, modern synths, bop, swing, funk, rock, it's all here. Keyboard player really helps fill out the sound. It's a studio album but has LIVE intensity, to the point I'd say it does better in that regard than most artists do. I've heard all the greats play and they were always better live than the studio album, because they had been touring and really working the tunes for a while, but also it was looser because nobody was afraid of bad notes. Just let go. And John to me, always sounded that way in the studio too! Rare for a musician to just go for it the way he does.
"The Wait" is so amazingly intense, and Bill Evans (!) on sax, tearing it up , Jonas is just RAGING on the bass. This is as good as John ever sounded to my ears, and far more contemporary sounding than the 70's recordings to my ears. Recording quaility is vastly superior to prior Mahavishnu recordings, and the musicianship is obviously more mature and refined. Polished and much more dynamic range than the previous recordings from the 70's. To me the earlier recordings just can't compete with this sonic quality, at all. Night and day.
Anybody complaining about drum sounds is not listening to the the music. The intensity, the depth of the exploration and the unleashed raw power that is John McLaughlin with the best sidemen available. Listen to Jonas Hellborg kill on track 6, he's funky to the max.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got rid of my LP, now bringing the CD back into my collection. The late 80's - early 90's were a difficult time for fusion. Lots of guitarists degenerated into formula. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dmckinleyp
One of my favorite recordings. In addition it is a great demo to show to show the sonic superiority of the LP to the CD. Read morePublished on April 10, 2014 by Fuzz
Here we have Mc's signature spicily fused jazz jams, distilled through plastic production essence with fleeting moments of contained experimental brilliance.Published on February 21, 2010 by IRate
I had a hard time replacing this LP album on CD or finding it on electrons anywhere on the net (legally that is...)that I used to have. Read morePublished on December 18, 2009 by Pabzo
The title aptly describes the music on this CD. More often than not, in the world of jazz, these two adjectives are rather like two poles. Read morePublished on November 5, 2007 by Minkosaurus
Anyone that thinks this album is less than 5 stars should be put in a sanitarium, and quit writing reviews. The music and musicians on this album are incredible. Read morePublished on March 18, 2002