Verdeaux, Cyrille and Pascal Menestreyl - Ethnicolor's

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Clearlight888Music
Catalog Number: C8M 104
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:40:00

The popularity of ethnic voices combined with electronic music probably began with Deep Forest, though the marriage of the two probably didn't start there. But we've had others doing the same or similar things - Baka Beyond comes to mind. Well, add Ethnicolor's to that list, a collaboration between Cyrille Verdeaux, who is perhaps best known to the readers of this site as the man behind Clearlight, and Pascal Menestreyl, a synthesist and samplist (to perhaps coin a term). Together they have crafted 11 tracks that manage not to lose the warmth and vitality of the natural sounds - voice and acoustic instruments - while adding synthetic tones and colours. Beautiful.

"Terre Australe" was included on the compilation Rainbow Music - Best Of 1975-2000, a track that includes didjeridoo, Indonesian and Taiwanese flutes, along with the voices of North Australian Papoose, South African Peuls, Namibian and Canaks from New Caladonia. In the review referenced above, I guessed that the deep, warm, earthy tones were generated by a didjeridoo; the credits in Ethnicolor's bears that out.

The remaining ten tracks include voices from various peoples worldwide - North America, South America, Tibet, Nepal, India, North Africa, and Fiji. "Rain Dance" takes Native American voices (Comanches, Kiowas, Utes, and Budas) and backs it with thundering percussion, as drums rumble like thunder. Keys trill like flutes and other wind instruments. It isn't rain they hope to bring about, but a storm ... a flash flood. That's how much energy this track creates, a beautiful booming, swirling cacophony, evoking images of dark storm clouds over an orange desert, the mesas in stark contrast against a gray sky. Even a bird (a nightingale) is trying to call forth the rain. But it isn't at all ominous, but rather celebratory - positive energy is being created.

The idea of rain is repeated in "Reve Avec Krishna" (or "Dream With Krishna") as the natural sound used on the track is "Thunderstorm in a European forest," though the lead instrument is an Indian flute. Quietly vibrating keys provide a swirling undertone, the slowly builds into to an undulating, pulsating ... thing.

"Odysseus" begins with an epic keyboard overture, as one might expect of track titled such as this one is. Here the keys take the lead, along with the sound of a flute (or like instrument, though none is named) and the voices of various peoples from New Caledonia, Fiji Islands, North Africa and North America. The way music drives everything forward leaves you with the impression of sailing along with Ulysses on his journey...or at least passing overhead while the setting sun shimmers and glints off the water, sails snapping with the wind...

North American Indian tribal voices mix with Ethiopian choirs, a Canadian wolf, and a European silver fox in "Trance Connexion"; "Shawnee Froid" includes the voices of Sioux, Shawnee, Navajo, Cree, Zuni, Apache and Buda peoples and Indian drums. "Azteque Tartare" (or "Aztec Tartare") is a bright and light tune, featuring Balinese shell, Colombian pan flute and Aztec Drums. There are shimmering percussive tones that feel like the cold, clear water of a trickling waterfall. "Amazon Cora Zone" feels like a cool, green forest, dew on the leaves about you; the kind of feeling that those lemon and lime sodas think they're selling you.

Terre Australe (4:48) / Shawnee Froid (4:02) / Zeph Here (5:10) / Azteque Tartare (Aztec Tartare) (5:13) / Rain Dance (5:19) / Reve Avec Krishna (Dream With Krishna) (4:08) / Trance Connexion (5:48) / Odysseus (4:21) / J'ai Du Bon Tabla (6:37) / Bird Of Paradise (3:15) / Amazon Cora Zone (5:42)

Cyrille Verdeaux - keyboards, synthesizers, rhythm programming
Pascal Menestreyl - sampling, synthesizers
and all the sampled voices, instruments, and sounds

Ethnicolor's (1999)
Tribal Hybrid Concept

Genre: Ambient

Origin FR

Added: December 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 875
Language: english


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