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* * * * * The Shaolin Afronauts * * * * *

[ Fight Of The Ancients ] ~ With a name like The Shaolin Afronauts, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be a bit of kung fu funk? Chinese rhythm & blues? Flight Of The Ancients [ Freestyle ] begins with a song drenched in the heat of Afrobeat, coming off a plane in Nigeria and looking for a variation of a Fela Kuti vibe. It’s cool, almost peculiar because I’m hearing this and going “where could a band like The Shaolin Afronauts come from? San Francisco? Staten Island? Brixton? Hamburg? No, for these guys come from somewhere in Australia, where kung fu movies and cool African records are played and celebrated, and it sounds good too.

In truth, The Shaolin Afronauts are a side project of the band [ The Transatlantics ], but I think any side act can be considered a main act in the hearts of those who truly love the music, and this is something one should love. The mix is done very close to those hidden gems from the 1970′s, where drums are compressed and you can feel the vibrations of every song in the room. Very exciting album, and one that is sure to make every lame party a very smoky one soonafter.

The mysterious afro-soul of The Shaolin Afronauts first echoed across the dance floors of Australia in late early 2008. Heavily inspired by the sounds of 1970′s West Africa, Ethiopia and the pioneering avant-garde jazz artists of the same period the Shaolin Afronauts draw on the this highly innovative and sometimes volatile era in music, using it as inspiration to create music with the same fire and intensity. Their spirited performances have fast gained a reputation as some of the most exciting live shows around. Though there is something refreshing and original about the Afronauts, their music could be described as somewhere in between the heavy Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and the Ethio-Jazz of Mulatu Astatke.

The key to the Shaolin Afronauts unique sound is the line-up, which comprises of a three piece horn section, 5 piece rhythm section and three percussionists, and this polyrhythmic approach layers the groups sound with a mesmerizing and hypnotic texture. Kicking off with Journey Through Time ( also released as the A side of the limited edition 12 inch vinyl single: FSR091 ) the multiple layers of percussion and rhythms indeed unleash an unstoppable groove, which is nicely balanced against the albums slower, more introspective moments, such as Rise With The Blind which along with haunting, mellow Scarab prove that contemporary afrobeat rooted music doesn’t always have to be an unrelenting, uptempo assault on the senses and can provide moments of sheer beauty and reflection.

[ Quest Under Capricorn ] ~ 2012 sophomore album from the Australian band. Their debut album, Flight Of The Ancients (2011), was a critical and commercial success story, lauded as a truly original blend of the sounds of 1970′s West Africa, Ethiopia and the pioneering and progressive avant-garde jazz artists of the same period. Flight Of The Ancients went onto be nominated for several music awards, including the 25th Aria Fine Arts Awards in the world music category, whilst the band, led by Ross McHenry, cemented its reputation as a truly revelatory live act, with a colorful and vibrant visual element to their shows, with the band resplendent in flowing, hooded robes and face paint to complete the spiritual presentation of their highly original music.

This added element of subtlety sets The Shaolin Afronauts music apart from much of the recent crop of other bands with similar influences, that said, these guys are still a collective capable of burning some stone cold classic and killer grooves, The Shaolin Afronauts are the band to watch out for.!

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Artist – The Shaolin Afronauts
Album – Fight Of The Ancients
Release Date – 2011
Genre – Jazz, Experimental, Afro-beat, Free-jazz, Avant-garde jazz

Tracklist

01. Journey Through Time 6:25
02. Rise With The Blind 4:52
03. Flight Of The Ancients 5:36
04. Shaolin Theme 6:08
05. Kilimanjaro 6:35
06. Shira 7:55
07. The Quiet Lion 6:21
08. The Scarab 5:16
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The Shaolin Afronauts – Fights Of The Ancients
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Artist – The Shaolin Afronauts
Album – Quest Under Capricorn
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Jazz, Experimental, Afro-beat, Free-jazz, Avant-garde jazz

Tracklist

01. Brooklyn
02. Gayanamede Prelude
03. Winds Across Gayanamede
04. Los Angeles
05. Quest Under Capricorn
06. End Of A Sun
07. Amhara
08. Voyage Prelude
09. Voyage
10. Forest Of Io
11. Saturn’s Dance
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The Shaolin Afronauts – Quest Under Capricorn
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Recommendations: Macaco Bong | Hurtmold | Guizado | Equus | Burro Morto
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