Album: Cosmic Surfer
Artist: Shiva's Quintessence
Release Date: 9/23/2005
Genre: Rock/Pop

Now this is what fans want, a dual set that boasts both old and new material.
Shiva's Quintessence is the duo of former Quintessence vocalist Shiva Jones and new partner and multi-instrumentalist Rudra Beauvert, but in keeping with the spirit of the original Quints, the album features a host of guest singers and musicians, including fellow Quint guitarist Maha Dev. Quintessence were underground heroes of the British prog scene, and the new unit is still true to those roots, although the sound of Shiva's Quintessence is much more synthesizer-driven than the band of yore. Once renowned for their esoteric themes, Mach II is much clearer in intent and more directly addressing contemporary issues. From the corporate-driven greed scathingly revealed on "Reptilian Corporate Sign Language" to the chilling global game of "Blame", across nine new numbers the group dissects contemporary climes. Boasting a varied cast of characters, including a genial Aussie who finds himself the victim of an alien abduction (the hilarious "But What Am I"), the "New Age Breadhead" desperately seeking answers in far-flung places, but who could just as easily find them from the platitude-dishing "Hollywood Guru", and even a reproachful "Dolphin Dreaming", disc one takes listeners on a scintillating trip around the modern world. Musically, the excursion is just as scintillating, even if only "Reptilian" can be classified as psych rock. Winding through down-and-dirty swamp blues, British Beat-flecked R&B, hip-hop psychedelia (now that's trippy), and into pop/rock, the set plays '60s prog off against modern electronic-driven sounds. A truly unforgettable excursion. Disc two takes listeners back into Quintessence's past, resurrecting seven of the band's most popular numbers and re-recording them in the duo's new style; two more numbers, "Hail Mary" and "Sun",  were written for that group but never recorded, and now slot easily into this set. Some fans may find it an anathema to tinker with these classics; most, however, will find the new versions, each lovingly remodeled in a more modern style, as intriguing and entertaining as the originals. Psychedelia's heyday may have come and gone, but with sets like this, the genre continues to evolve, still growing and going strong after all these years.

 Jo-Ann Greene, All Music Guide