Aura (Asia album)

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Aura
Asia - Aura (2000) front cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released31 January 2001 (Japan)
Recorded2000
StudioLoco, Monmouthshire, Wales
GenreProgressive rock
Length63:12
LabelRecognition
Producer
  • Simon Hanhart
  • Asia
Asia chronology
The Very Best of Asia: Heat of the Moment (1982-1990)
(2000)
Aura
(2001)
Silent Nation
(2004)
Singles from Aura
  1. "Wherever You Are"
    Released: 2000 (promo)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
The Daily VaultC+[1]

Aura is the eighth studio album by British progressive rock band Asia. The group had gotten reduced to the duo of singer-songwriter John Payne and musician Geoff Downes by this time, and they determined to create a new sort of supergroup around Aura by bringing in multiple guest artists to collaborate with them.

Examples include Tony Levin, Elliott Randall, and Chris Slade. The album came out on 5 June 2001. It was produced by the band itself alongside Simon Hanhart,[2] an audio engineer who had previously produced work by groups such as Babylon A.D., Saxon, and Whitecross.[3]

Despite deliberately seeking to replicate the band's earlier sound, with single "Wherever You Are" gaining some airplay, Aura failed to achieve significant commercial success. This is possibly related to the group's troubled record label, which went bankrupt within a year after the album's release.[4]

Production[edit]

Aura was recorded during 2000 at Loco Studios located in the village of Llanhennock in Monmouthshire, Wales, and produced by the group themselves in collaboration with Simon Hanhart. As vocalist and bassist John Payne and keyboard player Geoff Downes had remained the only permanent members of Asia before the recording sessions started, they invited an array of guest musicians to perform on the new album. Afterwards, a stable line-up was established, featuring Payne, Downes, guitarist Guthrie Govan and drummer Chris Slade. In 2004, they would release the next album, Silent Nation.

The lyrics for "Awake" were adapted from "The Rubaiyat" of Omar Khayyam. The lyrics for "The Longest Night" were inspired by Wilfred Owen's poem of 1918. "Ready to Go Home" was written by Andrew Gold and Graham Gouldman of 10cc and appeared on Mirror Mirror (1995).

The cover artwork was designed by Roger Dean, who had collaborated with Asia since their inception.

Release[edit]

Aura was released in Europe by Recognition Records as a standard jewel case CD edition, a limited Digipak CD edition, which featured three bonus tracks, and a vinyl edition. In the United States, the album was issued by Windstorm Records, a division of Blue Storm Music, and also included the three bonus tracks. In Japan, the album was released by Victor as an 11-track CD edition. In 2007, Aura was released by Acadia, a label of Evangeline Records, with an addition of bonus CD, featuring Steve Howe's acoustic guitar performance, recorded live at the Chestnut Cabaret in Philadelphia on 21 November 1992. "Wherever You Are" backed with "Under the Gun" was released as a promotion only single and received some airplay.

Although the sound of Aura can be described as radio-friendly, it did not perform well in charts and remains one of the least sold studio recording in the group's catalog. This may have been partly due to Recognition Records, which went bankrupt within a year after the album was released.[4] Two songs originally written for the album, "Never the Way" and "Innocence" were included on Armada 1, the band's first fan club exclusive EP released in 2002.[5]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Awake"Geoff Downes, John Payne6:01
2."Wherever You Are"Andrew Gold, Graham Gouldman, Downes, Payne4:48
3."Ready to Go Home"Gold, Gouldman4:48
4."The Last Time"Downes, Payne4:58
5."Forgive Me"Jimmy Santis, Richard Tancredi, Downes, Payne5:24
6."Kings of the Day"Downes, Payne6:42
7."On the Coldest Day in Hell"Downes, Payne, Ben Woolfenden6:26
8."Free"Downes, Payne8:13
9."You're the Stranger"Downes, Payne5:47
10."The Longest Night"Downes, Payne, Woolfenden5:21
11."Aura"Downes, Payne, Elliott Randall4:45
Total length:63:12
Bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
12."Under the Gun"Downes, Payne4:50
13."Come Make My Day"Downes, Payne, Ian Crichton5:02
14."Hands of Time"Downes, Payne6:31
Total length:79:35

Personnel[edit]

Asia[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Neil Lockwood – backing vocals
  • Gary Liederman – bass

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Simon Hanhart – producer, engineer, mixing engineer
  • Ray Staff – mastering engineer (at Whitfield Studios, London)
  • Roger Dean – painting, lettering
  • Martyn Dean – booklet design

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thelen, Christopher (6 May 2017). "Review: Aura". The Daily Vault. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  2. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/aura-mw0000004301
  3. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/artist/simon-hanhart-mn0000041836
  4. ^ a b Randall, David (2003). "Asia – Aura (2001)". Get Ready to ROCK!. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Armada 1". www.relayer35.com. Retrieved 23 June 2020.