P'taah (Chris Brann) is a white dj from Atlanta (Georgia) who debuted with
house singles such as
Wamdue Project's King of My Castle (1998) and
Ananda Project's Cascades Of Colour (1999).
Ananda Project's Release (2000), recorded with
vocalists Heather Johnson and Terrance Down, guitarist Ede Wright, and percussionists Genoa Mungin and Kima Moore,
was the first omen that Brann's interests were changing: its house music was
heavily contaminated with jazz and Latin elements.
His first P'taah album, Compressed Light (Ubiquity, 2000), introduced a
completely different persona, a guru of
futuristic jazz-rock, funk, downtempo and acid-jazz fusion who reinforced his
twisted structures with a scaffolding of disorienting beats.
Brann's experiment, related to
Kruder and Dorfmeister,
Cinematic Orchestra and
relied on the trinity of jazz, collage and beats, but also admitted
live musicians (vocalists Heather Johnson and Terence Downs, percussionists Genoa Mungin and Sakima, and saxophonist David Hughes).
The results are alternatively euphoric (Flying High) and mystic (The Answer Is Silence), and every mood in between.
The main color is definitely jazz:
Million Miles evokes both Jon Hassell's ethnic ghosts and Miles Davis'
Do You Keep It Near You toys with atmospheric lounge jazz;
Crossing blends bebop saxophone, funky guitar, wordless vocals and watery keyboards.
The other key ingredient is the African spirit, despite the fact that Brann is
No One No How Never is an eight-minute piece that juxtaposes a frantic, tribal percussive delirium and a volley of sidereal drones;
Compressed Light does something similar with an African polyrhythm and an orchestral drone;
Portal One Plus Two sounds like a nine-minute exploration of the African soul;
and Uriel Bridge adds a touch of cool jazz to the tribal/primitive Afro-Caribbean feast.
Both energic and subtle, P'taah's music effortlessly balanced the three dimensions of jazz, ethnic and house music.
Decompressed is the remix album.
Staring At The Sun (Ubiquity, 2003), featuring the usual vocal and
instrumental guests, repeated the same concept with the austere, quasi-classical
composure of the ECM sound (Surrendering).
Ananda Project returned with Fire Flower (2007).
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