John McLaughlin: Siren
John McLaughlin (electric guitar)
Billy Rich (bass).
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: New York, February 1970
Rating: 81/100 (learn more)
"Siren" is a spacey shuffle that was probably the midsection of a longer tune. (For anyone unfamiliar with the infamous sound editing and mixing history of Devotion, see my review of "Purpose of When.") A lot of echo was used in recording this piece, imparting a strange rebound sound to McLaughlin's muddy electric chords and riffs. It does the same for Buddy Miles's drums and Larry Young's organ. It is quite possible the shuffle effect is the result of the recording process itself. It is hard to tell. I would not call "Siren" a song. The performance is a collection of interesting chord progressions that sometimes fade in and out, purposefully or not, leading to another series of riffs and some cool guitar effects. While "Siren" is probably damaged goods, there are enough far-out sounds to interest any McLaughlin fan or fusion fanatic. I would rate it higher had it been located in its original place as McLaughlin had intended. I can't blame McLaughlin for the studio screw-up. But I need to be honest about the music.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky