The Astral Walkers “The Passage EP” (Deepblak Recordings)

House / Techno Jazz

On their début expedition as Astral Walkers, AYBEE and Lars Bartkuhn produce house music compositions that merge dubious elements from various genres and styles in electronic music.

Percolating rhythms that run throughout the EP pay silent tribute to the Body and Soul era of house music, while certain melodies acknowledge the unruffled spirit of atmospheric drum and bass.

These two Berlin-based artists, fearless with their “open-ear” influences and approaches, choose to dive deep. So deep in fact, that ‘Passage (Full Experience)’ clocks in over 9 mins, basically taking their own damn time, and rightfully so, to drench us listeners in “the sauce” of this house/jazz-funk/hybrid of expression. These movements within movements keep evolving and breathing with each chord progression and guitar colouring. As if they are organisms still trying to investigate the limits they were hatched within. The constant evolution of these formatted sections keeps the work together in a contagious fashion.

‘Passage (Astral Stroll)’ is a bit of a heightened deep house extension that maintains one intense, mostly straight ahead, mood. Just as the moment seems to slip away, there is a “come-down” piano chord phrasing that reshapes and shuffles the mood of the piece before it expires.

Lars Bartkuhn and AYBEE met at an impromptu jam performance at the Xjazz Fest in where the seeds were planted for further collaboration. Both worked in tandem on drum programming, vocals, and synths, with Bartkuhn also contributing guitar, piano, Rhodes, and live percussion also enlisting the jazz/ rock bassist Helmuth Fass on bass.

AYBEE, the multi-platform artist from Oakland, California and current Berlin resident is the founder & chief alchemist at the Deepblak imprint. Bartkuhn is best known for his work with his iconic Needs Music imprint, where he has won an ardent following for his blending of contemporary electronic sounds with jazz, classical, and funk.

“The Passage EP” releases October 20, 2017 on Deepblak Recordings

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John-Paul Shiver

John-Paul Shiver

SF Music Journalist who writes for @pulplab @sfsonicmag , likes more songs about buildings and food. He's written for several Bay Area Music publications over the past 15 years.