Concept albums are hardly few and far between but the songs on ‘When Colour Lost Light’ are intriguingly ordered in the form of the electromagnetic spectrum. The work of Toronto resident Manvir Rai, each song title makes some reference to colour and however obvious it would be to call this a kaleidoscopic record, the statement is unmistakably true.
The album unfolds delightfully from the dreamy soul of ‘White Flags’ to the string sampling vs breakbeats ending of ‘Hue Am I’, dropping in on ambient, hip-hop and psychedelia territory in between. The more experimental likes of ‘Purple Thrills’, ‘Nazi Pink Triangles’ and ‘Tangerine’ demonstrate the production skills and ambition of Rai and his warm vocals adorn each track like spun gold. There are an abundance of mood changes from relaxed to aggressive (dramatically for ‘Deep, Blue Deep’ and the unexpectedly acoustic ‘Bright Yellow Sun’) and back to calm again with the genre transition switches between hip-hop and dreamy, soulful numbers ensuring the creativity remains constant.
Part of the appeal is the surprisingly seamless flow of the record; ensuring the album works as a whole but special mentions still need to be made for a few outstanding tracks. Thanks to its rhythmic pulse, sonic shifts and punchy rapping ‘redREd’ captures the invention and excitement of mid-90s act Earthling. ‘Prism’ is a slice of gorgeous, cosmic pop whereas the single ‘Giving Light To Greys’ is just lovely; made up of seductive soul vocals, a watery harp-like melody and an air of light melancholy. The song also recalls the mysterious beauty of that other soul/dream pop project, The Beauty Room.
Little biographical detail is available on Rai, the man behind daysdeaf. Without prior knowledge, one would imagine a production team with a very accomplished soul singer but it appears to be a solo maverick which makes the achievements of ‘When Colour Lost Light’ all the more impressive. For this adds to the wonder of an excellent concept album which thrives on the fact that, just as there should be acceptance for all colours, there should also be no boundaries in music.
The Beauty Room, Earthling