The Ananda Project - Release

I really want to give this a thumbs up because the idea is on the cutting edge of dance music. What The Ananda Project have actually done is create a dance album with vocals, lyrics and actual songs. Ok, so it doesn't sound like a musical revolution but within the current dance scene of hard house, Ibithan trance and sample led break beats when an act tries something different you simply have to stand up and applaud them for their arrogance.

"Release" is an album that sets out to break rules from the start. With most tracks averaging around the 6 minute mark its easy to say that you won't find the records played on Simon Mayo or Sarah Cox, but at the same time each bar and instrumental break seems absolutely essential to the finished song. A kind of soulful jazzy warm instrumental break showers you while beats are furnished with a gentle percussion section. Beats and rhythms are worked on rather than a simple 4 to the 4 beat throughout and it really shows the work of true genius.

"Cascades of Colour" and "Expand Your Mind" are just 2 shining examples. The latter perhaps being the first act to use the vocoder with any degree of credibility left in tack afterwards. Its an album that the phrase "background music" was meant for and I mean that as the highest degree of sincerity. Never intruding too much on the listener while building a heavily textured base is such a hard thing to do and The Ananda Project have pulled it off with style.

The only problem The Ananda Project have now is convincing the rest of the world. It may take a long time but I get the feeling that by the end of the year they could follow in the footsteps of Roni Size and MJ Cole and gain a much coveted Mercury Music Prize nomination.

Alex McCann