Vol. 2, Release CD, Import
Afro Celt Sound System's first album Sound Magic was a revolutionary and largely successful attempt to blend the ancient traditions of Celtic and African music with touches of techno to create an uplifting and new--yet nevertheless primeval--sound to cater for brain, hips and soul. Its follow-up, Release, obviously has a very similar motivation behind it, yet manages to avoid being a simple retread by emphasising the dancey aspects of the music somewhat more and by blending the instrumentation into a rather denser and more organic sound. Despite certain changes in personnel, the greater coherence is certainly not due to less-varied instrumentation--uilleann pipes and hurdy gurdys sit alongside tabla drums, Celtic harp, kora, flute and many others as well as additional programming input from Ron Asian. The opening track, "Release", features guest vocals from Sinead O'Connor over a backbeat of powerful drumming; several tracks, including "Lovers Of Light", follow a similar percussion-heavy style. Others are more explicitly dance-floor numbers, like "Big Cat" (with its soft-edged yet frantic beat), "Hypnotica" and the freak-out "Riding The Waves". A more ambient feel is delivered by "Amber" and "Urban Aire". Overall, a successful album that could never have managed to be as surprising as its predecessor but nonetheless manages to break enough new ground to keep the experience fresh. --James Swift
It is not just the energy and drive of this outstanding ensemble of superbly talented and skilled musicians, it is the alchemy created by their brilliant mix. For like true alchemists in celtic lore these artists know what they are saying musically and they "mine that gold" with an intuitive awareness of the immense array of raw energy and power created by each musician's gift and personal alchemy. The result is a gorgeous album of pure musical magic.
I found myself enthralled by the special effects and mind bending waves of hypnotic grooves that washed across me in a sound scape that dazzled and electrified at the same time. Songs like "Eireann", "Big Cat" and "Hypnotica" especially.
If there is a CD that one may, without the slightest reservation, recommend to anyone who loves world music and is seeking the ultimate in a joyous, inspired, deep, and emotionally effecting album then give yourself and your loved ones this one.
On this album, ACSS have strengthened their beats to remain more contemporary with the styles of today, a move that has contributed a great deal to their successful emergence onto the charts. And they keep their strong instrumental and vocal traditions, with Sinead O'Connor, among others, lending a hand. Tracks like Release and Lovers of Light demonstrate why Afro-Celt are master at what they do, as pipes, whistles, string instruments, and traditional drums weaves effortless through vocals as well as electronic beats. DJs have undoubtedly been taking this album and mixing it with other beats to bring it to the dance floor, and lovers of fusion groups like Deep Forest, Myth, and Enigma will get a rush from the stylings here. While grandmothers in Galway might wince, everyone else will be cheering, as they increase their number of speeding tickets by at least two while listening to this album.
If anything, this album demonstrates how vibrant these traditions are today, and their accessibility within the context of electronic music. Real fans of the first Volume, however, will detect something slightly amiss, as the real "soul" of the enterprise, lead by Iarla O'Lionaird's soulful, heart-rending vocals, seems to diminished slightly on this album. It's minimal, but the warm, velvety, yet still menacing darkness of some of Volume 1 is not present on this album. Chalk it up to a more mainstream attack on the electronic aspects of this album -- or maybe the the track Lovers of Light. Either way, if you enjoyed the first album, buy this album. And if you love the Eileen Ivers and Davy Spillane version of celtic, this really is for you.
This CD offers creative sound. along with with Irish lyrics & translations by lara O Lionaird ,French & African lyrics by N Faly Kouyale.
This album was dedicated to the memory of their keyboard player Jo Bruce,9 Febuary 1969 - 8 October 1997.
You can obtain further information and a full catalogue on these recordings and their future releases from :Real World Records. Box,Corsham, Wittshire,SN13 ,8PL,UK Narada Productions Inc. 4650 N.Port Washington Road Milwaukee, WI 53212-1063,USA.
I really enjoy their sound , as unique & different and appreciate their efforts in bringing their talents to us,to enjoy & share with one another ,in this world.