Universal Consciousness is the fifth solo album by Alice Coltrane, released in 1971 on Impulse! Records. Universal Consciousness builds nicely on albums that came before it. It grows out of the unbridled celebration of her late husband's life on A Monastic Trio and the soulful wanderings of her most well-known record, Journey in Satchadananda.
In The Wire's "100 Records That Set the World on Fire," David Toop writes, "[Universal Consciousness] clearly connects to other dyspeptic jazz traditions – the organ trio, the soloists with strings – yet volleys them into outer space, ancient Egypt, the Ganges, the great beyond. The production is astounding, the quality of improvisation is riveting, the string arrangements are apocalyptic rather than saccharine, the balance of turbulence and calm a genuine dialectic that later mystic / exotic post-jazz copped out of pursuing. Her lack of constraint was dimly regarded by adherents of '70s jazz and its masculine orthodoxies, yet Alice deserved better credit for virtuosity, originality, and the sheer willpower needed to realize her vision."