"Devotional music has never sounded as serene and sensual as it does in the world of Rasa." -- John Diliberto, Echoes
Evokes a sense of passion with stunning performances by four guest vocalists that perfectly juxtapose Waters's exquisite voice and Christian's virtuosic arrangements. The sound of Rasa is unlike anything you've ever heard. Sensual vocals, soaring cello, and sarangi swirls weave a sacred tunic of devotional love songs in Bengali and Sanskrit.
The chant genre is glutted to epidemic proportions these days, with everyone from Buddhist nuns to Madonna's backup singers intoning Tibetan chants and Hindu kirtans. After six albums, Rasa continue to rise like perfumed smoke above the chanting hordes with their Eastern acoustronica and the enthralling singing of Kim Waters. The Rasa signatures are all there on Saffron Blue: Hans Christian creates a global fusion playing Swedish nyckleharpe, Indian sarangi, cello, electric bass, and synthesizers, orchestrating them across deep throbs of Indian percussion. But it all starts with Kim Waters, intoning Hindu mantras and bhajans in a voice that is both comforting and seductive. Christian builds her up in echoing choirs and canons that just seem to climb higher and higher. But there are some new wrinkles in the sari on Saffron Blue. They bring in a couple of other singers to duet with Waters, providing a contrast of rougher, more traditional sound with Vaiyasaki Das and Bairavesh Das. But even that nod toward tradition is bent through psychedelic echoes, subtle backwards effects, and deft electronic rhythms. Christian even gets a bit of funk slap bass in on the epic 10-minute trance of "Vande Krishna." Rasa don't make your street-corner Krishna sound, nor the easy grooves of ethno-techno chant albums. They've created a chilled-out global chant that speaks in a universal language. --John Diliberto
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