The release of Heart of Sky follows 2015’s extraordinary global melting pot Message From The Other Side, dubbed “a journey into techno’s dreamiest recesses” by The Fader and a “psychedelic masterpiece’ by Vice. Since then The Ancient Moons have traveled the world with their highly immersive live show, supported Roisin Murphy on tour and played at Glastonbury and Melt! amongst others.The album was recorded in Monastic Studios, Lazarus’ custom-built studio overlooking the Mugello mountains, deep in the heart of Tuscany. It combines Lazarus’s cosmic world influences with his love for ‘80s soul/funk. “The world influence is still there but it’s subtler,” Lazarus explains, “I’ve been digging in crates, searching for interesting, weird music in Middle Eastern record fairs. These inspirations appear throughout the new record, but after touring I knew I wanted to write the next record with the band, utilizing the power of a soulful vocalist at the front. My background is very much in soul music. I started buying records when I was 12, listening to pirate radio stations in London, going to soul all-dayers, jazz-funk, rare groove, I spent every penny on records with strong vocals and hooky choruses. On the new album, I thought maybe there was a way to connect that heart and soul to a positive, trippy, psychedelic sound.”Heart of Sky is ebulliently fronted by Jesse Appiah, the rising London singer who’s worked with Michael Kiwanuka, Jamie Woon, Kwabs and Jess Glynne. He is joined by Ben Chetwood, session musician and MD who has worked with everyone from Rudimental to King Krule, plus the Heritage Orchestra’s Rob Gentry, and, of course, Lazarus himself. With a guest appearance from Australian singer Chela on the recent single ‘Five Moons’.The result is an album, self-produced by the band, that its maker admits “it may not be for the techno purists” but which, instead, has an ambitiously broad scope, straddling both clubland and alternative pop; for the dancefloor and for the head.
Last week Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons released their latest single ‘Feedback Loop’. Showcasing the warm textures of Jesse Appiah’s soulful vocals and the Ancient Moons’ top-notch production, ‘Feedback Loop’ already sounds like a classic and is undoubtedly one of the album’s key moments. The song is about A.I., a conversation between man and machine, and rolls out of the speakers like a 21st Century update of Bristol’s Wild Bunch sound system. Listen to ‘Feedback Loop’ HERE. Remixes for the dancefloor from Bedouin and Serge Devant, plus dubs from the legendary Mad Professor, follow on all formats next month.