Emerging from a long winter slumber, Ottawa's Eric Vani (a.k.a. Rise Ashen) has delivered a package that will eliminate the winter doldrums and arouse any nujazz fan's appetite.
Known for its rooted power as an ancient kung-fu form, Earth Dragon has the ability to transform the listener to the far reaches of the globe, allowing them to experience a multitude of worldly rhythms.
But the album doesn't just mingle with dub, Indian table and Brazilian beats for the sake of experimentation. Instead, they're fused with acid jazz, culminating in an hour-long journey of loungy bliss.
The buttery-smooth vocals by Toronto's Nick-E Pratt fit into place alongside the up-tempo rhythm on the addictive and appropriately titled track, "Rock this Beat."
While Vani performs a number of percussive instruments on the album, he's enlisted the help of local talent including DJ Pho, Danejahras and Trevor Walker, a staple of Ottawa's music scene and co-founder of Fossil Fuel Records.
Listeners will become exhausted from the dancing, tapping, and twitching that will result from experiencing the album for the first time. But the power of Earth Dragon will never grow tired, and will re-energize for repeat listens.
By Darren Eke
May 11, 2003