Quintessence - In Blissful Company. 1969 England

Quintessence isn't a band you hear much about when talking psychedelic and progressive rock, and that has to rank among one of the great mysteries of music collecting. I had passed over their albums in the bins for years and years. I never remember anyone talking about, referencing, nor recommending the band. Not via catalogs, nor any like-minded friends. So I just presumed it was a sort of hippy dippy folk rock with maybe a Indian singalong or two.

It wasn't until late 2014 that a friend virtually elbows me and asks: "Have you heard Quintessence before?". And so off I went to some discount seller and retrieved In Blissful Company on CD per his recommendation. How on Earth could this be so obscure - and yet so common? I have no idea. So here we are in 2018 on my second revisit, and I've probably played the album 5 times in a row. It's really an excellent example of the psychedelic / progressive rock crossover blend.

For 1969, Quintessence definitely possessed a pioneering sound. The key sound components are electric guitar (often times fuzzed out) along with flute. And sonorous vocals. It took me awhile to figure out who they reminded me of most - but then it hit me last night. Quintessence laid the groundwork for a similar type sound that Marsupilami pursued a short couple of years later (the vocals were the giveaway). And given this latter band is one of my all-time favorites, then it stands to reason as to why I enjoy In Blissful Company as well. Listen to tracks like 'Manco Capac', 'Body', and 'Pearl and Bird" and compare. Other than 'Chant', which is the obligatory Hare Krishna moment, the rest of the album is divine so to speak. And yes, of course, it has a strong Indian element to their sound, which I see only as a plus.

Personal collection
LP: 1969 Island
CD: 2004 Repertoire (Germany)

The CD is a fine digi-pak with excellent liner notes from Chris Welch and includes 2 bonus tracks which made up the single release. A couple of years ago I also picked up the LP. It comes in a fine gatefold, with a 12 page die-cut book. My copy is the palm tree label which dates it to 1970 most likely, but technically copyrighted 1969.

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