Music is the beacon back to dry land

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.

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10 comments

      • Ruth

        we’ve just been to a cheese night at our local gay disco, so cheesy we had to come home while still flying…. nice bike ride though! So why can’t I play anything on your blog? Is it because I’m dazed and confused or is my browser out of date (safari 4.1.3 )? sorry if that’s embarrassing, Jude says it is. Possibly.

        xx Ruth

  1. Philippe Galinier

    Hey Marty,

    Finally getting around to reading your blog! Mieux vaut tard que jamais, non? I thought I’d read this before you come over on Saturday, it would be too embarrassing otherwise. This is a very enjoyable read, and I very much look forward to more of it (especially the Cerrone entry!!). Hey, it’s a long way to Kevin Yost, but I hope you enjoy the journey – your frère disco certainly will. I’m sure you wont’ need any help finding artists for each letter of the alphabet, but if you get stuck, you know where to find me…
    Love
    P
    xx

  2. Philippe

    Oh, and by the way I love the track! Great jungle sounds! (Why is my earlier comment not appearing yet?)
    P
    xx

  3. david

    thanks for posting this. im a huge fan of ananda project. i also bought the 2000 Casacdes EP at that time. do you have any plans to post your newly digitzed library on soundcloud ? or maybe you can make them available to purchase on this blog? peace

  4. Charles Neal

    Beautiful track Marty: loved it! Vaguely remembered their name but not the music. It’s kinda Buddha Bar eh? This is FUN!!! Hope you do keep going and that your earnings allow you plenty of time for your blog and other writings besides…… Great to be back in touch Charles

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