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AURA SAFARI

Great music is often about chance meetings and impromptu creative sessions and so it is that Hell Yeah proudly serves up Sensory Blending, a new collaborative album from Italian collective Aura Safari and Finnish musician Jimi Tenor. The nine-track record is a lush and luxurious fusion of jazz-funk styles.

This glorious record came about after Tenor was playing a Hell Yeah party at Tangram in Perugia. Aura Safari were local and, in some free time the day before the gig, everyone jumped in the studio together. They had never met before but soon found plenty of free-flowing common ground and the result of that one-off session is now served up on this vibrant new album that brims with musicality, indelible melodies and subtly uplifting vibrations.

Tenor has toured the world and previously collaborated with the likes of Japanese master Calm. He is a psychedelic space-jazz-funk king, skilled musician, composer and producer who, since the mid-nineties, has released more than 25 albums and 45 EPs. Aura Safari is made up of bass, synth, guitar and keys players Lorenzo Francioli, Ruggero Bonucci, Nicola Pitassio Andrea Moretti, Lorenzo Lavoratori, Daniele Melloni and Nicholas Iammatteo, and they are label regulars who served up their sublime Island Dreams album here last year.

Says Jimi, who enjoyed his time in Perugia and adds that 'the studio session was 100% efficient. I showed up and we started to play. Almost all that was made was material that we could use for the album. I love to work fast. Quick brushstrokes. Finish! I was amazed at how intuitively the Aura Safari guys could come up with new parts for songs. I mentioned some feeling or approach and they seemed to find it just like that.'

'Bodily Synesthesia' is the seductive opener with steamy sax notes and gentle grooves that are topped by aloof vocal whispers. 'Lunar Wind' is another slow and steamy mix of jazzy keys and soulful vocal hooks, 'Bewitched By The Sea' is a more tropical and percussive number with majestic melodies and 'My Bluebell' picks up the pace with jazz-funk grooves and hustling chords. 'Last Waltz In Perugia' has freeform sax lines soaring over meticulous drums that ebb and flow and 'Gimlet' brings a playful, samba-tinged rhythm and sunny flute leads straight from South America. There's a laidback, carefree mood to 'It's Too Easy To Love You' while 'Your Magic Touch' is a dancey number that exudes melodic joy, and 'Indigo' closes in dramatic fashion with a conversational sax that sticks long in the memory.

Sensory Blending is a seamless fusion of collaborative minds from Aura Safari and Jimi Tenor and it could well be performed live at some special select shows later in the year.

TRACK LISTING

A1. Bodily Synesthesia
A2. Lunar Wind
A3. Bewitched By The Sea
A4. My BlueBell
B1. Last Waltz In Perugia
B2. Gimlet
B3. It's Too Easy To Love You
B4. Your Magic Touch
B5. Indigo

Aura Safari

Island Dreams

    Red hot Italian DJ and production collective Aura Safari is back with a second full-length album, Island Dreams. It lands on Hell Yeah Recordings on September 15th and is another live and sun-kissed odyssey through balmy Mediterranean evenings, gorgeous sundown sessions and funky analogue grooves.

    Andrea Moretti, Lorenzo Lavoratori, Daniele Melloni, Nicholas Iammatteo, Lorenzo Francioli, Ruggero Bonucci and Nicola Pitassio are Aura Safari, and between them they play drums, percussion, bass, keys, and guitar. They contributed to the first volume of the Buena Onda compilation in 2020 on this label, a year after serving up a debut album on London's Church Records. Since then they have become ever more entrenched in their local scene in Perugia. They are skilled musicians and instrumentalists with an effortlessly charming sound and play summer sets at the Umbria Jazz Festival, winter warmers at the legendary Red Zone Club and host their own Tropical Climax parties each month in the town centre.

    Aura Safari are also deep-digging music collectors who have extensive and far-reaching tastes. When cooking up their sounds they draw on everything from Afro to Italo, house to disco, 80s boogie to world music, jazz and Balearic beats. This new album shows that once more across four sides of vinyl that sweep you up and transport you to somewhere idyllic.

    The title track kicks off with steamy Mediterranean grooves embellished with lush Rhodes chords and sprinkles of cosmic magic. 'Sur Mon Balconnet' then slips into dubbed-out disco territory with 80s synths and leggy drums while 'Riserva Naturale' is a new-age jazz house sound with majestic lead synths and heart-melting chords that speak of a sunset dance on the beach. 'Onda' has squelchy boogie bass with hip-swinging drums, 'Wave Riding' is a lo-fi funk excursion with hints of West Coast Californian swagger and 'Magic Malbe' is loose-limbed Balearica with clear blue skies and blissed-out chords.

    'Dancing in the Moonlight' feat. Zeke Manyika has all the vibrant feelings of bubblegum pop with Afro vocals and steel drum sounds next to rich xylophone sounds. There is plenty of heat and exotic charm to the proto-Afro house of 'Tropical Climax' and as well as dub versions of 'Sur Mon Balconnet' and 'Dancing in the Moonlight' come the scuffed-up Dam-Funk style beats and boogie of 'Disco Mantra' before closer 'Patagonia' shuts down with elastic drums and bass and playful synth leads that send you home wanting more.

    Island Dreams is a tropical escape to a rich world of fusion sounds that look back to go forwards. It's a feel-good record to accompany hot nights and lazy afternoons, cocktails at dusk and dancing till dawn.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Island Dreams
    A2. Sur Mon Balconnet
    A3. Riserva Naturale
    B1. Onda
    B2. Wave Riding
    B3. Magic Malbe
    C1. Dancing In The Moonlight - Ft. Zeke Manyika
    C2. Tropical ClimaxC3Sur Mon Balconnet (Soca Dub)
    D1. Disco Mantra
    D2. Dancing In The Moonlight (Special Afro Dub)
    D3. Patagonia

    Strap in for another standout release from Hell Yeah, and their final 12" of the year. 'Lagos Connect' is a one-off dance floor bomb from Aura Safari, one of the hottest names on the Italian electronic-jazz-funk circuit. Vocals come from Nigerian singer Villy and the artwork is by long-time label collaborator Andrea Amaducci who finishes off this package in style.

    Aura Safari are Alessandro Deledda, Andrea Moretti, Lorenzo Lavoratori, Daniele Melloni and Nicholas Iammatteo. They contributed to the first volume of the Buena Onda compilation in 2020 and released the critical acclaimed Hotel Mediterraneo EP after years entrenched in the local scene of Perugia, attending the Umbria Jazz Festival every summer and legendary Red Zone Club during winter, both of which shaped the sound of Aura Safari. Now, they showcase their good-time grooves and vibrant vibes on two brilliant new tracks.

    'Lagos Connect' is a gloriously upbeat tune that brims with musicality. The bass is fat, the chords seductive and the guitars slide in and out with funky charm. It immediately drops you in the middle of an open-air dance floor in high summer. Villy's soulful lyrics are socially and politically aware. They talk of living life with good vibrations even in the face of adversity. They speak of how society views those less fortunate and of staying true to yourself. They add realness and emotion to a sizzling and timeless track that will unite hearts and minds around the world. A reprise, radio edit and dub mix are also included, then 'Moving Rivers' ups the jazz-funk. It's another majestic arrangement packed with dazzling Rhodes chords, crashing drums and squelchy bass that demand that you move every limb in your body.

    Keep yourself warm this winter with this pair of irresistible dance floor heaters from Aura Safari.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Funky goodness for your soulllll, you can almost picture the Balearic islands if you squeeze your eyes tight shut and crack up the heating. The dub version is on fire as are all these tracks, bring on the sun and Piña colada(s) I say.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Lagos Connect (Extended Mix)
    A2. Lagos Connect (Reprise Beats)
    B1. Lagos Connect (Dub Version)
    B2. Moving Rivers


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