In space, time is relative. Under the physical laws of our planet, we had to wait four years to hear new music from multi-instrumentalist Ash Walker, while on another dimension, maybe, it has only been a few minutes or days. Astronaut is unequivocal proof that reality is never enough: while people take refuge in music, musicians explore the Universe.
In any artistic expedition, introspection stands as a fundamental step. Aware of this, Ash Walker illuminated his reflection under the lights of the stars of the cosmos. "I learned about myself and from artists who taught me to step away from the project, let it marinate, not be in such a rush to get it out because it’s been a little while since my last album." Escape the times dictated by the music industry, "I was initially in the mood to release it, but then I realized that it's ok to take some time out and find calm after living in so much rush, to re-approach it in a better place. Reconnect with my inner voice, listen, absorb, live life, and come back."
In his musical aspirations, the London producer is on a space mission to present a mix of sounds that take us to places never before explored, or as he calls it: a cosmic voyage, "That was the whole premise for the album. I feel that it's my way to navigate this universe as the person I am and what I do, joining the dots as a producer with all these musicians." In Only Love, the first track of the album, you can feel how the voice of Lou Rhodes makes the pain of a heartbreak fade away as the light within comes back on.
Before exploring outer space, Ash embarked on a journey of self-discovery where African roots became the fuel that impulses his rocket. "While creating Astronaut, I was so inspired by Afrofuturism. I feel like black people can be stereotyped so much into the expectations of what people think of them, so this was a way to convey that black people exist in this space differently." Breaking patterns in the creative space; "Look to the stars and not the streets."
Walker belongs to the generation of musicians who made the global pandemic an opportunity to transform their creative atmosphere and thus create from the lockdown. "I decided to take this time as a positive thing for the album and reach out to all the musicians I always wanted to work with. Bit by bit, I started getting answers, receiving compliments from so many different people, which is like, I love this, I want to do this album." With the exchange of ideas comes the mixture of genres, one of the qualities of Astronaut. "I’m not afraid of mixing all these genres. I’m a musician that thinks out of the box. I like to imagine that I’m paving the way for a new style; this is like a musical canvas made of rhythms that people should hear."
To have a clear perspective of this space race, it's necessary to understand that behind the musician and producer lives a record collector. "I’ve been collecting music since a very young age. I’ve always been interested in eclectic sounds, and I think all of that comes out quite strong in what I do; it’s hard to be in a box." Walker's musical vision is directly related to a DJ who thinks about settings and environments for each song. "It's where my strength lies: making the sound fit, making the beats, putting everything together, arranging stuff, and selecting the best parts. I try to think about everything, down to the finest details: the order of tracks, the way it flows, the ambiance. I like to think of the listener's experience because I always believe in listening to a record from start to finish: putting on a vinyl, listening until the end, and then returning to the beginning again."
Astronaut is a musical exploration characterized by its vast aircrew. It's also a mix of Jupiter and Saturn, where violet and turquoise colors mix in warm weather. One of the most daring releases on the London scene because it stops being a record to become a journey.