Byron The Aquarius – The New Beginning 2×12″
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Byron the Aquarius (aka Byron Blaylock), an accomplished keys player as much as he is a producer, has a deep love for the organic side of music. This shines through in his creations, back to his debut EP in 2007. More recently, Blaylock’s skillful jazz beats have found a home on the one and only Jeff Mills’ Axis Records. From his birthplace in Birmingham Alabama, Blaylock has grown into an international figure of acclaim for his explorative compositions. Already having two successful EPs with Shall Not Fade under his belt – most recently marking the labels’ 50th release with What Up Doe? Vol.2 – Byron the Aquarius returns for a gorgeous double LP. Expect the smoothness of deep house, melodic instrumental hip hop production of the J Dilla creed along with tight jazz pieces. The New Beginning LP showcases range and expertise from the off, exploding with pulsing discordant jazz in “Amaya’s Voyage”. Psychedelic g-funk is the MO of “Smoke One For Huckaby”, before a B-side milieu of jazz and hip hop reminiscent of Guru’s Jazzmatazz. The album settles into a deep groove across its C-side, the highlight of which is the percussive workout of “Underground Was Black”, complemented delicately with dazed pads and buoyant but smokey lounge jazz sounds in “Cosmic Jazz”. Off kilter hip hop shines through in “Last Time We Gonna Do This” and its eclectic sound palette, then we are blindsided by the heavy electro distortion of “The End Of The World”. The record closes with a collaboration of the genres explored throughout, pieced together into the pumping “Lost People of Tron”. The album feels like a lap of honour around all the influences in Byron The Aquarius’ sound – it’s yet another artistic triumph.