Colors of Trance
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 Booth, Madeleine Doherty and James Asher; Orange by Glen Velez, Sandeep Ravel, Mike 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).