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The Looking Stone: Aazav Launches Their First Album, a New Collaboration by Producers Kai Altair & Haj i Ji

On June11, Aazav launched their first album, a new collaboration from producers Kai Altair & Haj i Ji. The Looking Stone is born of community and a shared sonic vision that spans from Brooklyn to San Francisco along the liminal Silk Road of dream; from a deep ancestral past out towards a beckoning celestial future. This dynamic set of tracks moves through evocative down and mid-tempos, to late night dance floor heat, transporting us with music that is both modern and timeless.

Kai delivers stirring vocal dreamscapes supported by driving global rhythms, lush string accompaniment, and deep bass exploration. The songs are odes to the endless journey–tales of archetypal love, open roads, and devotion. Both music and performance are invocations, a compelling balance of live and electronic components. The listener moves forward and backward through time, carrying a talisman made of polished stardust.

Aazav steps forward already steeped in co-creations with luminaries of electronic music & bass culture. Rising from deep roots created by Haj with Sub Swaraand Freek Factory, other collaborations include Desert Dwellers, David Starfire, Govinda, Kaminanda, Living Light, HÄANA, Jon Margulies. A remix album is already in production, and Haj & Kai are back in the studio recording their follow up to The Looking Stone. The future of Aazav shines brightly, inviting the promise of sultry dance floors lit by the spark of deep intentions and inspired new sound.

*Interview by Maya Skye

First off, I'd like to say congratulations on launching your new project, Aazav, and the release of your first album, 'The Looking Stone'! It's exciting to see the combined powers of yourself and Haj i, Ji, making new music together. Can you tell us about how you met and decided to collaborate?

Thank you! We are very excited about the new project & album as well! The collaboration runs deep and marks the opening of a new chapter.

My collaboration with Haj is a fairly new one, and it feels both familiar and ancient. In this timeline, we began working together when I asked Haj to do a remix of my song Big Cat for the Shapeshifter album. The song was originally produced with Dave Sharma & Dhruva Ganesan, formerly Haj's partners in Sub Swara. Honestly, I had been wanting to collaborate with Haj for many years.

We started building in the studio together while he was working on the 'Above & Below' EP with our dear friend Sera Solstice. From the very beginning there was a very bright spark of magick. We flow in similar ways. There is a mind meld that happens in the studio, often simultaneously arriving at many of the same sounds and ideas. The ease and inspiration to create is massive, and we decided quite naturally to make 'The Looking Stone' together.

How would you say the music of Aazav differs from your solo work?

Aazav is very much a shared dream, though in this first album, there are many similarities to the music I was making and writing before. 'The Looking Stone' is composed of songs that I have been carrying for some time. Haj dove in and helped me to bring them forward. Right now we are working on an EP of new songs that we are conceiving together from the roots. These songs are even more geared towards the dance floor, and the path ahead feels more potent because of the partnership. The live shows carry energy, focus, and electricity of two people with shared vision and intention.

The album truly captures a sense of "moving forward and backward through time, carrying a talisman made of polished stardust." What was the creation process for the album like? Can you tell us a bit about your environment / experience as it was being recorded?

 

Haj and I do most of the production and much of the recording at his studio in Northern California. I'm a bit nomadic, and am based in Brooklyn, so there are times that we work telepathically across the country as well. Haj's studio sanctuary is remote and secluded inside the very heart of Nature. The beauty of the environment and the natural container seep into the music in every way. The ravens and the hummingbirds, and the big open skies all find their way into the soul of the songs.

"The Looking Stone' is comprised of songs written to celebrate the journey itself, and tells the tale of the traveler who crosses through many worlds. It also points the way for the path that Aazav is beginning now. We dove into all the shared stories and metaphysical archetypes on the album, finding ways to make it very real during the process. We found a soul resonance and spiritual kinship there, as well as a doorway to more music and creative energy for the road ahead.

The music and performance of Aazav "are invocations, a compelling balance of live and electronic components." Besides your vocals, are any other components of your album / performances live? Can you elaborate more on how music and performance can become invocations?

We are so grateful to collaborate with our community of talented musicians and friends in the studio. We intend to integrate them into the live show as it continues to develop. 'The Looking Stone' is full of incredible live instrumental performances: percussion, string arrangements, oud, bouzouki...

Music and performance become invocations when imbued with the intention to create pathways toward communion with the sacred. Haj and I both connect with the idea of holding space for individual listeners and dance floors to move through a conscious journey of surrender to something beyond the experience of ordinary reality.

We hope that the music will be a complimentary energy for people who are looking into deep places within themselves through dance, dreaming, and other ecstatic experience. Now is a time when the old ways are being made new again. Aazav, in its deepest intent, is a part of that moment.

Your last remix album for 'Shapeshifter' featured artists such as David Starfire, Govinda, Desert Dwellers, and HAANA. Can you tell us a bit about what's in store for 'The Looking Stone' remix album?

Yes! A new EP from Aazav, and remix album for 'The Looking Stone' are both actively in creation.

You can expect remixes from David Starfire, Govinda, Kaminanda, DrumSpyder, HÄANA, Hijazi, Living Light, Apollo Santo, Tasha Blank and more coming very soon. . .

Get the album: https://aazav.bandcamp.com/album/the-looking-stone

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