Bhagavan Das Now

Yoga, in case you hadn’t heard somehow, is back. And so is Bhagavan Das. The Laguna Beach hippie followed his whatever to India in the ’60s and came back to influence Allen Ginsberg and Monkee Mike Nesmith. Under the name Ram Dass, he coined the oft-repeated, more oft-ignored mantra of the ’90s, Be Here Now. His new millennium disciple is Beastie Boy Mike D, who produced Now, his third album. Some reviews speak of Das’s "deep spiritual resonance.” Others the "groundbreaking meeting of devotional chanting with streetbeats and sampling.” What they’re actually referring to is some goofy off-key warbling over some half-hearted loops. I even tried engaging my mula banda to see if that made things better but after clenching my sphincter for a while I still wasn’t getting it. Then, all of a sudden in the middle of the album, it drifted inexplicably from Sanskrit chanting into Nobody’s Fault But Mine. That made me clench my teeth instead. This ground was broken long ago by Mahavishnu, by Loop Guru — hell, even by Monsoon and Madonna — and to much better effect. If you want to figure out life, reading "How To Figure Out Life in Seven Easy Steps” will not get you there. Pick up the great novels instead. If you want to get in touch with your Hindu soul, don’t listen to the guy who sells canned pop on his website next to the CDs. Pick up Ali Akbar Khan or Alla Rakkha. You’ll find more "depth and resonance” than you’ll know what to do with. (Karuna)