||Rapture / Beyond Borders
New Age Retailer
Rapture is essentially the name given to Steve Edwards, who composed and produced Beyond Borders. Drawing on diverse cultures from around the world, Edwards has crafted a totally fresh world beat debut album. He takes sensuous, uplifting rhythms from Africa, The Caribbean Islands, India,and China and mixes in such disparate voices as Nigerian Choirs, Cantonese and Thai opera singers, Zulu Grunt rhythms and even a Thai Poet. Adding sax, flute, penny whistle, piano, bass, sitar, synthesizers and drums result in a heady melodic mix that begs to be danced to. As is the case with most, if not all, of this type of music, Edwards made generous use of samples as well. Weaving the voices, rhythms and instruments, into a seamles and eclectic whole, Edwards presents a most worthy addition to our library of terrific world beat dance albums.
Beyond Borders is very much a feel good album. The infectious rhythms and delightful voices are almost guaranteed to lift anyone's mood. And given the wide range of voices, instruments, and rhythms from around the world, the 10 tracks and 43 minutes of music offer a wide range of delightful tunes. On "Djembe Dance," for example, African voices and rhythms offer syncopated grooves balanced by a soulful sax. Not only does Beyond Borders offer great dance music, it also offers music with great melodies.
"Flute of Eros" has a lovely flute melody flying ethereally over a funky world beat groove (think Spotted Eagle meets Enigma) and more lushly exotic voices. "Anthem" offers an even livlier groove, driving perhaps the prettiest song on the album. Delicious voices dance with sax and a great bass line to come up with my favorite track on an album of winners.
Perfect for just about any kind of dance or movement, Beyond Borders belongs in the collection of all of those who love Enigma, Delerium, and Loop Guru. In store play will have customers dancing their way to the cash register, so be prepared. Beyond Borders is one of the best dance albums of the year.
--Steve "Edge" Ryals---
Rapture / Beyond Borders
New Age Voice
Steve Edwards composed produced and arranged this set of songs which combines elements of African, Middle Eastern, Caribbean and popular music. Beyond Borders is a great dance album, opening with the punchy rhythms and mysterious vocals of "Daily Bread" through the lyrical "Rain Dance" then cranking up the intensity with "Djembe Dance". "The Flute of Eros" is soothing and slower paced, and that mellow pace continues through "Dara Dance" and "Anthem". Then "Ocean of Joy" will have you swimming in waves of smooth flowing voices and overlapping beats, which continue through "O ba la ba la" and closes with the rousing "Africa". The total mix flows naturally, so that the high intensity jams give way to the mellower moments before rising and picking up the pace again.
This CD is like a package of vitamins. Pop it in your player and you'll start to feel sirges of energy. Beyond Borders captivates listeners then turns them loose with a smile.
Alternative Music Press
'Beyond Borders' by Rapture, is a cross-cultural excursion composed by Steve Edwards. It begins with a Mid-Eastern flavored updempo dance rhythm,"Daily Bread", with vocals similar to those heard in modern Arabic dance, driving synth melodies, and solid bass from Randy Tico. The dance feel and groove continue in "Rain Dance" which combines pop sensibilities with jazz and world influences. It is followed by lively African chants and exotic percussion in the joyous " Djembe Dance" a mixture of harmonies like Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the energy of Salief Keita. Next we move onto "Trance Alleluia" a slow pulsing anthem, aptly titled. This contemplative mood continues in the next track "Flute of Eros" Ethnic vocal samples abound on "Dara Dance", a slow dervish-like dance. The fact that most of the material is sampled is pretty extraordinary in itself. Had I not looked at the liner notes, I would swear that this was performed by an international group of musicians. Considering the five people who worked on this project are all from Southern California, that is an incredible feat! Judd Miller does an outstanding job on breath controller (woodwind synth). The vocals by Susie Williams, Rick Logan, and Susie Stephens are top knotch if you can dicipher their voices from the sampled indigenous ones. Together, they create a fascinating listening experience. Raw, engaging, and even wild at times, this album reflects the pathos of world culture.
Beyond Borders" It's a global celebration of diverse cultures drawn from the furthest corners of the globe. Uplifting rhythms from Africa, The Caribbean Islands, India, and China are complemented with the voices of Nigerian Choirs, Cantonese & Thai opera singers, Zulu grunt rhythms, and a Thai poet. Flutes, soprano sax, flutes, penny whistle, piano, bass guitar, sitar, synthesizers and drums join together in varying combinations, mixing contemporary grooves & melodies to create a unique world music debut.