Aybee & Lars Bartkuhn as Astral Walkers is the perfect collaboration nobody saw coming. Both artists have a storied catalogue of expressive music; Lars having resurfaced from a long hiatus since his golden days in the quintessential deep house trio of Needs and Aybee sending regular transmissions from the Oakland underground since the early 2000s.
The restrained hypnosis to ‘Passage (Astral Stroll)’ makes it feel like Aybee has taken the lead on this one, particularly the drum programming and chord stabs. But you can definitely feel where the two producers have created something wholly of their own together too. Which is fitting for a collaboration born out of an impromptu live jam at Xjazz Festival a few years back. Clearly finding it a good fit, this EP is the result of a focused collaborative effort since that night.
The other side to the record, the ‘Full Experience’ mix, feels more indebted to that fat and resplendent Needs sound, so get the package for a balanced vision from two exceptional artists. Passage is out 20th October on Aybee’s Deepblak – buy from Juno and Red Eye.