AYBEE and Lars Bartkuhn are The Astralwalkers
As explorations into the outer reaches of musical cosmos go, the coming together of Oakland prodigy Armon Bazile aka AYBEE and Frankfurt deep house legend Lars Bartkuhn as “The Astralwalkers” is one of those propositions that brings a warm tinge of excitement to the ears, considering the level of prowess that exists between these respective artists.
Whilst AYBEE is known for his boundary pushing ethos and fearless stand through the sounds of his Deepblak imprint, Bartkuhn’s work via Needs is as equally impressive as it is rooted in classical deep house and soulful boogie. After the two met at an impromptu jam at the Xjazz Fest, the seeds were planted for future collaboration and “Astralwalkers” as a project was born. Committing themselves to going beyond tight parameters, the pair have sought to capture the spirit of the dance in this first EP as the loose flow of Jazz meets Funk gets wrapped into being, thanks to the endless possibilities offered by electronic music.
“Passage” is differing expressions of the very theme, expanded over two contrasting moods. A side “The Full Experience” is a rich, melody full, upbeat celebration that captures the unique duality: comprised of layers of live instrumentation incorporating guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals and congas around tightly snapped percussion. This classical leaning jam summons the spirit of New Yorican soul as it limbers up and stirs the hips into positive action through the build and broken sequences that characterise this wonderfully fluid groove. Standing at nearly 10mins, it begs to be left to its own devices and not cut short as the duo fully go to town. Accompanied by the ‘Astral Stroll’ version on the B side, their appetite for a deeper and more ethereal approach is evident as the mix leans into a hypnotic groove and slow flourish – held together by expert drum programming, chords and jazzy twists that play out. Clearly an excellent fit, this EP is the result of focused collaboration that we hope to hear more of.