The radio edit of Ananda Project’s Cascades Of Colour on the double-pack from 2000 is a little four-minute burst of magnificence that is somewhat overshadowed by Joe Claussell’s 10-minute mix that is programmed before it. In fact, back in the day, I was so much in thrall to the sweetly melancholy keyboards and chattering percussion of the Sacred Rhythm version that I didn’t give any of the other mixes much of a chance. Plasmic Honey’s hard house take still doesn’t do anything for me, but Ben Watt’s versions are very listenable, even if his signature sound was still a work in progress at the time; and if you want a thumpingly anthemic version of pretty much anything, then Danny Tenaglia (who re-edits Rui Da Silva’s ‘saffron’ mix on the double-pack) is always your man.
Taking its name from a Sanskrit word for ‘bliss’, the Ananda Project is one of several studio aliases of Atlanta, Georgia, producer Chris Brann (who has also created wonderful work as P’taah and scored his first global house hit with King Of My Castle as the Wamdue Project). He is by no means not the only house-based producer to draw inspiration from beyond the dancefloor, but he has an unusually broad range of influences, from Kate Bush to Keith Jarrett, Flora Purim to Prefab Sprout, Arvo Pårt to Trevor Horn.
The Cascades Of Colour EP was the first Ananda Project release in 1998, although I myself missed it at the time (the double-pack of two years later was when I caught up, and I’ve been a devotee ever since). Allowing the graceful five-note piano figure of the title track to materialise out of birdsong was an audacious opening even in the goatee-stroking era of late ’90s deep house, and that full-length version of Chris Brann’s own ‘Wamdue Black’ mix has a wistful beauty all of its own (on the Night Blossom compilation of mixes of material from the more recent Fire Flower album, the man himself uses it to close out his DJ mix on the bonus disc).
But now that I’ve got round to listening to the originally overlooked (by me at least) radio edit, I think it might be even more to the point. (As far as I can hear, the edit doesn’t dispose of any musical content, it simply gets the track underway more speedily and truncates the meditative looping central section.) Like the sunrise and sunset of Gaelle Adisson’s lyrics, it comes and goes too quickly, for sure. But there’s something painfully right about that for a song that seems to be about the futility of attempting to hold on to what are fleeting moments (‘Cascades of colour slip right through your hands/Your castles in the clouds turn back into sand’). Less, it turns out in this case, really is more.