Is it a multi-genre ‘hybrid’, or is the ‘Astral Love’ LP a compound in its own right? It is, most certainly, a composition of sound formed from a very rich heritage that we’re about to examine in abridged form. ‘Astral Love’ is an awesome, inspiring collection of skillfully performed pieces that draw heavily on hip hop, nu-disco, funk and, of course, soul.
Those of non-Antipodean persuasion won’t require, nor appreciate this overly-simplified initial commentary. But, ‘down under’ gifts us with some truly spellbinding interpretations of the arts; food of course, and certainly, very firmly, music. Initially cultivating his craft from Adelaide, to cherry-pick ‘just some’ of the ‘feathers’ in Jules Habib’s cap, might go something like this: 2011 releases on Amsterdam’s BOOGIE BASH; a plethora of remix work from there onwards; outstanding releases on Dopeness Galore; notable ‘tech’ releases on RUSH HOUR’s ‘Store Only’ series; Hot Shot Sounds which included a collab with REGGIE B; Outerspace Connection on the monumental BBE; Planetself on TOKYO DAWN. And now, ‘Astral Love’, on UK-based Atjazz Record Company. But, relax, this will all make perfect sense soon. Very soon.
‘Astral Love’ bears all of the aforementioned ingredients, crafted by Jules Habib under his Inkswel moniker. It’s a bold, accomplished collection of skilful tunes, featuring talent spanning a global alliance of like-minded performers, all of whom are now very much at home, together on Atjazz Record Company.
‘Green Tea’ features a spectrum of antioxidants. It’s a mindful brew of positive rhyme skills, including from Los Angeles-based SCARUB, and it’s further sweetened with vocal hooks by LEILAH REICH, all outstandingly served over Inkswel’s signature sound.
Inkswel’s rich heritage shines throughout the vivid title track, ‘Astral Love’, and so too do the remarkable jazz-driven vocals of a second L.A. native, DWIGHT TRIBLE, perhaps first heard courtesy of Ninja Tune. Inkswel’s own Planetself and MICHELE MANZO further radiate the love throughout this positive head-nodder.
Following on, a gorgeous break begins the journey that is ‘Eachother (Fallin)’: a tale of two souls, elegantly woven throughout a distinctive vocal performance from South London-based singer-songwriter, ANDREW ASHONG.
‘How I Stay’ asserts a tougher direction for the album; a move towards the dancefloor, whilst retaining the now established essences of positivity. An uplifting, layered vocal is masterfully delivered by Jazz Cafe regular, COLONEL RED.
So now we’re back in Derby, UK, or is it Melbourne or Adelaide? New York, Philly or Detroit even? This eclectic collection of songs, all of which are written and performed without compromise and straight from the heart, deserve a moment on your ears. And you deserve some time with this album.