Music Review: Return to Shiva Station
Return to Shiva Station: Kailash Connection
Shiva Station is Jai Uttal’s well-known album from 1997 that was tagged “world music” when that label was expanding in a hundred and eight directions. That was 17 years ago, and Uttal has traveled back in time to revisit those songs with his latest album, Return to Shiva Station: Kailash Connection. Looking back isn’t always easy for artists, and Uttal remarks in the liner notes that the original album was produced during an unhappy and unbalanced period in his life; “Returning to this album was not always a comfortable process.”
But Uttal pulls it off nicely and has created a new CD that stands on its own, displaying his evolution as a person, musician, and devoted spiritual practitioner. The overall instrumentation is sensitive, and in some of the 2014 renditions like “Calling You,” Jai has turned up the funk with nice touches of noisy-blues electric guitar. Uttal’s Return to Shiva Station sounds lighter than the original, replacing the ’90s reggae influence with a relaxed jazz feeling.
This return to an earlier work will please Uttal fans, offering up a soul-baring rendition of the original. We can only wonder what it would sound like if Uttal reached farther back in his musical history to rerecord music from his early days playing in a new wave/punk band.