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Colors of Trance

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Colors of Trance

Artist :
Title : Colors of Trance
Release Date : 2000
Label :
Catalog Ref. : NE2004-2
Format : CD
Price : £8.99

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Colors of Trance. An acoustic harp played with the lilt and poetry of Ireland’s Madeleine Doherty, accompanied by a dynamic mix of percussion, including Japanese taiko drum, Indian tablas, congas and didgeridoo. Produced by James Asher, who also plays an exotic array of keyboard sounds, this album expands the boundaries of trance. Asher’s ground-breaking world beat albums Feet in the Soil and Tigers of the Raj have distinguished him as a pioneer in the field of world music fusion. Each track is a musical interpretation of one of thirteen Colors. The styles range from foot-stomping dance to lyrical and haunting visually evocative tone poems. The innovative combination of instruments and styles give this album a unique and vital originality.

Customer Review – “I really appreciate a person who knows how to make profound and astonishing music! James Asher definately deserves a compliment in my opinion for these very majestic and well engineered works of art. Some songs are slower than others, see thats his imagination trying to interpret the Colors of Trance; even the slower songs have their own dynamics. A very nice flowing and crisp sound that puts it in a class of its own. Some of the songs I dance to and tear the house apart while getting ready to party. A must for any serious person with any taste at all for meditative music with its unique twist of soulfulness and spiritfulness.

More Reviews of Colors of Trance

Trust someone with James Asher’s vision and skill to dream up this combination! Combine electric and acoustic harps (played with amazing skill and dexterity by Madeleine Doherty) with world fusion AND electronica beats galore? I couldn’t even fathom that mixture – but I sure was hooked on it the first time I played Colors of Trance. While not every song on the album grabbed me (I prefer the more rhythmic pieces here over the ambient cuts), this one still gets a big thumbs up from me.

Each song (but one) is named for a color and the album starts off running with “Olive” which introduces those crazy cousins – harp, world music elements, and dance beats – right off the bat. The harp bounces merrily along, joined by didge, exotic percussion, and frenetic trip hoppy/techno beats. Sound crazy? Maybe so, but it cooks up just fine! Trust me. The next song, “Yellow ” is jauntier, using snap-yer-fingers beats and high hat to create an air of playfulness, which the harp flits around and James’ keyboards contribute a lively refrain (sounding a bit like a quasi-accordion).

But wait ‘ll you hear the full-on rapid-fire techno assault of “Gold “. Now the album kicks into ULTRA-high gear and I mean it! High energy synths fire laser-like chords while the BPM (beats per minute) climb into the stratosphere and the harp somehow keeps pace. Madeleine’s hands must have ached after this number! But boy, is this fun! “Emerald ” starts things off with spacy synth effects, all swirling bloops and bleeps, and the number continues in this vein, slowly building and getting spacier and spacier. This is heady (and pretty cool) stuff – you’ve never heard the harp used with this kind of music, I’ll wager.

Abruptly, the album lands back on the urban dance floor ( “Coral “) with solid mid tempo techno beats and a pleasing blend of melodic bell-like tones with more frenetic techno synth effects. The harp adds an interesting element now and then, but mostly the mixture of world fusion with the beats is what got me going on this one. This cut is another solid winner to my ears, especially during the escalating bridge segment (you can’t miss it!).

Fans of James’ other fusion albums (Tigers of the Raj and Raising the Rhythms, as well as his remix hit, Tigers of the Remix) should embrace this one wholeheartedly. The mixture of dance, techno, and even dubby beats with James’ characteristic flair for world fusion is incredibly intoxicating and infectious. Combine the above with Madeleine’s fiery and passionate harp playing and you get a spicy and delicious meal, for sure! From the tippy dub of “Red ” to the bubbly effervescence of the more laid back “Pink ” this one is a kick.

Towards the end, I think the album loses some of its steam (although by placing the more slow-paced songs at the end, this dialing down of the intensity seems intentional, so consider this comment more as a matter of preference on my part). And, in fact, “Green ” and “Violet ” are lovely numbers, if not downright beautiful. But I sure missed the beats at that point! The only true missteps on Colors of Trance come with the inclusion of the vocal number “Turquoise ” which I found a bit distracting. There are also vocals on the closing number, “Peace Song, ” and again I did not care for them. I’m sure both of these cuts are well-intentioned, but putting them on this album was, in my opinion, a mistake. However, even with these two lapses, there is so much ingenuity and talent here that it goes without saying that Colors of Trance merits a recommendation from me. James Asher continues to amaze me with his skill and wit in marrying varied musical elements together into exciting new genres. Lord knows what he will come up with next, but I’ll be looking forward to it, whatever it is. Written by Bill Binkelman, a.k.a. the Man who would be King. Reproduced with permission from the Wind & Wire web site.

Emotionaly addictive to the senses. I really appreciate a person who knows how to make profound and astonishing music! James Asher definately deserves a compliment in my opinion for these very majestic and well engineered works of art. Some songs are slower than others, see thats his imagination trying to interpret the colors of tance, even the slower songs have their own dynamics. A very nice flowing and crisp sound that puts it in a class of its own. Some of the songs I dance to and tear the house apart while getting ready to party. A must for any serious person with any taste at all for meditative music with its unique twist of soulfulness and spiritfulness. DarkStar Lion from Big Island, HI USA 5/5

 

 

Credits : Recorded and produced by James Asher at Starfield Studios – London. Mixed by Grahame Gerrard and James Asher at Starfield Studios and Capture UK. Executive Producer: Mike Booth. Recorded on the Soundscape Hard Disk recording system. Music published by Soundless Sound. New Earth Records 1999 [NE2004-2].

All compositions by Madeleine Doherty and James Asher, except: Red by Mike BoothMadeleine Doherty and James Asher; Orange by Glen VelezSandeep RavelMike Booth and James Asher; Green: James Asher; Turquoise: Madeleine Doherty and James Asher – lyrics by Mike and Claudia Booth; Peace Song: Madeleine Doherty.

Madeleine Doherty: Camac Little Big Blue electric and acoustic harp, vocals. James Asher: Keyboards and Programming, Taiko Drum, Soundscape. Sandeep Raval: Tablas, Taiko Drum and Percussion. Miles Bould: Congas, Percussion. Glen Velez: Frame Drum. Mike Booth: Didgeridoo, Singing Bowls. Claudia Booth: Vocals (Turquoise).

Background

In October of 1998 Mike Booth told me of an Irish lady he‘d met on his course travels who played some wonderful harp – Madeleine Doherty. She came over from Ireland for a weekend, and we enjoyed jamming, especially with rhythmic musical ideas, which for my idea of harp was unusual and interesting. Madeleine spoke lovingly of an amazing harp she knew of, and was passionate to play – called the Little Big Blue, made by a French company called Camac. The following Spring (March 1999) we hired this harp from France, and Madeleine and I spent two energy-packed weeks co-writing compositions on the theme of different Colors.
James and Madeleine

Mike Booth joined us midway and as usual he spurred on the sessions with his dynamic and broad approach to the creative process. He also played some didge, singing bowls and Groovebox! Madeleine has a great ability to tune into a large sphere of energies in a number of different realms, and a great sense of humour to boot. This was very stimulating for me, and we had a huge amount of fun exploring the very differing moods associated with the various colours. This whole process was further enhanced and eased by Erik Pelham’s butterfly essences which we enjoyed during the sessions. Erik has for a while been the chief colour technician at Aura-Soma, but like Madeleine has the ability to communicate with many extraordinary dimensions in the realm of ‘spirit helpers’.

The Blue
During the whole period Madeleine was thoroughly smitten with the Blue harp we’d hired and was loathe to be separated from it. Even after a long day in the studio, she could still be found in the evening, further exploring the delights of its extraordinary tonal range.Some of the tracks called for an energetic feel, and suited a dance treatment. Others veered more into the mystical and atmospheric. The two weeks were a great adventure and during the course of it Madeleine and I rapidly developed an effortless and fluid pattern for working together.We were joined during the period by two great percussionists – Sandeep Raval, whom I’d met during the making of Tigers of the Raj, who played some excellent tabla and taiko. Also Miles Bould who’s worked his percussive magic on several of my albums, came and delivered some blistering congas and bongos.There was so much material at the end of it all, for quite a while I was contemplating two separate albums, but with much care and thought it was successfully compacted into one lengthy album. I hope listeners will have as much fun listening to the far-ranging journey of the music, as we had making it.

Inspiration from: Aura-Soma · Erik Pelhams butterfly and sea essences · Shoyeido incense – Kyoto Autumn Leaves · Celestial Seasonings – Wild Cherry Blackberry tea. Released 2000 on New Earth Records. An acoustic harp played with the lilt and poetry of Ireland’s Madeleine Doherty, accompanied by a dynamic mix of percussion, including Japanese taiko drum, Indian tablas, congas and dideridoo. Produced by James Asher, who also plays an exotic array of keyboard sounds, this album expands the boundaries of trance. Asher’s ground-breaking world beat albums Feet in the Soil and Tigers of the Raj have distinguished him as a pioneer in the field of world music fusion. Each track is a musical interpretation of one of thirteen Colors. The styles range from foot-stomping dance to lyrical and haunting visually evocative tone poems. The innovative combination of instruments and styles give this album a unique and vital originality.

Playing the Blue is a magical experience. Run your fingers over the strings and you are transported to another dimension. Her depth of sound is like the ocean on a stormy day, cleansing, clearing. Her delicate high notes whisper like the gentle waving of angelic wings, soothing and relaxing. Strong and gentle, she weaves her magic, drawing you to another plane, where sound is colour and the possibilities for beauty are endless.

Madeleine Doherty