The story behind the classic groove and ambience meets worldbeat extravaganza Morning Light finds Atlanta-based producer, composer, and remixer Chris Brann a bit surprised. He never set out to make the Ananda Project, the crown jewel of his musical legacy, which includes projects under his own name as well as associations with Wamdue Kids, Wamdu Project, and P'taah. When this ensemble began in 1998, it was intended as a one-shot side project. Ananda Project's first full-length album, Release, was an eclectic mix of house with jazz, gospel, tribal, soul, and Latin variables. The 13 tracks and 70 minutes here go in similarly vibey, crazy cool, and funky directions, opening with the moody interlude "Suite Dreams" and evolving into the heavy percussion and bass-driven "I Hear Your Dreaming," featuring the sultry vocals of Heather Johnson. More fun comes via the dance-specific thump numbers like "Rain Down" and "Tangerine," which roll along like a '70s funk jam, laid-back at first then more intense. The socially minded "Justice, Mercy" featuring Terrance Downs on vocals sounds like an hypnotic outtake from Seal. One minor issue: the album cover is a bit too new agey for the multiple mood swings of this provocative chillout disc.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran