Chris Brann never set out to make the Ananda Project the crown jewel of his musical legacy. When the outfit began in 1998 -- inspired through a chance meeting with Lancelot and Bryan of King Street Sounds and Nite Grooves labels -- it was to be little more than a one-off side-project; a footnote to the already illustrious career the prolific Atlanta-based producer had forged through the acclaimed output of his Wamdue Project, Wamdue Kidz and P'Taah projects. But as the outfit began to grow and gel organically, it evolved into a venture whose innovation and influence far surpassed the intentions of its founder.
"Cascades Of Colour," Ananda's first single, indeed sounded like a sunrise; an illuminating and rejuvenating orchestration of deep, soulful house, punctuated by Brann's understated melodichues and Gaelle Adisson's angelic, honey-coated harmonies. Thesingle soothed and enraptured with a subtlety and honesty distinctive from any other house production of its day, quickly establishing the song as the secret weapon of various top DJs, including world-renowned tastemakers such as Danny Tenaglia, John Digweed, Deep Dish and Pete Tong. Not surprisingly, the international house community demanded more and insisted that Ananda not die. Now seeing the full potential of the project, Brann and co. responded with the patiently and passionately-constructed Release in 2000.
With the project now grown to include the collective efforts of a crew of Atlanta-based talents, including vocalists Heather Johnson and Terrance Down, guitarist Ede Wright, and percussionists/vocalists Genoa Mungin and Kima Moore, Release was an eclectic, cohesive, fully-realized album that injected the tried and true garage houseformula with jazz, gospel, tribal, soul and Latin variables. The album was both timeless in its classic construction and timely in its progressive panache, and was revered as nothing less than a triumph for the entire vocal house movement. Even Spin Magazine lavished the project with praise, regarding Release as "the kind of record that reminds you to feel grateful to be alive" while DJs salivated over the album's heavenly, heartfelt emotion. Tracks from the album would appear on more than a dozen compilations that year, including the CD-releases of a diverse roster of artists/DJs, such as Everything But The Girl, Dave Seaman, Lady D, Scott Hardkiss, Ron Trent, Lord G, and Joaquin "Joe" Claussell, as well as Tenaglia and Tong, serving as a testimony to the widespread and universal appeal of Brann's aural vision.