Damian Lazarus’ magical live project The Ancient Moons returns with “Heart of Sky,” released on July 20th through Crosstown Rebels/BMG. The album 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 travelled the world with their highly immersive live show, supported Roisin Murphy on tour and played at Glastonbury and Melt! amongst others.
“Heart of Sky” 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, utilising 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.”
The first taste of the new album came with last summer’s club hit “I Found You.” “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.
To mark the announcement of “Heart of Sky,” Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons are streaming the latest single from the album “Fly Away” (watch the video above). Described by Lazarus as “a cosmic love story,” “Fly Away” pulses with soulful pop-house potential, and has been given the remix treatment from Swedish DJ Jonas Rathsman and New York producer and remix legend Dennis Ferrer. The remix package will be released on June 22nd.
Preorder “Heart of Sky” here.