Ancient Astronauts
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Ancient Astronauts

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Band EDM Funk

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""We Are To Answer" - Review on Groovemine.com"

For a first release, We Are To Answer is an ambitious one, and Ancient Astronauts live up to the nomadic nature their name suggests. Hailing from Cologne, the production team of Kabanjak and Doguhas have created a familiar yet cosmic sound that permeates the entire album. Spaced-out sound effects and heavy reverb suggest signals coming from a far, far away place.

The tracks are texturally rich, multi-layered and meticulously crafted. Ancient Astronauts' approach at creating this album is similar to the way that Dan the Automator and Danger Mouse produced with the Gorillaz. Many of the tracks are closely identified with hip hop, but We Are To Answer features a diversity of musical styles. "Everybody" is infused with the funky breakbeats, while "Dark Green Rod" borrows heavily from the jungle scene of Britain. The dub/reggae sounds on both "All the Things You Do" and "Surfing the Silvatide" produce a good dose of irie, but are almost outdone by the Arabic/Middle Eastern cues on "Marrakesh." Touches of R&B round out the stylistic twists and turns.

To be able to recruit two members of The Pharcyde to collaborate with says a lot about their talent and how much respect they’ve built in such a short time. For fans of alternative rap, instrumental hip hop, and global sounds, We Are To Answer is definitely worth checking out.

REVIEWED BY PATRICK PALADINO - Groovemine.com


""Into Bass And Time" review on Dryvetymeonlyne.com"

Into Bass And Time is the latest creation by a German duo that goes by the name Ancient Astronauts, a moniker that rightly conjures up all sorts of alien-related conspiracy theories in my brain. Despite their European lineage, these two gentlemen bring to the table prodigious levels of classic African-American musical influences – old-school turntable-ism, ‘70s funk of the Sly And The Family Stone variety, and full band hip-hop that would make A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots smile proudly. The album is chockfull of bangers that could rock a club or tear up a street with ease, but there’s something a bit too “mixtape” about this release, and it occasionally comes across as too schizophrenic for my tastes.

As much as I love the thick bass grooves and big strains of soul and funk that run through the project, there’s a large part of me that remains confused. Case in point: out of the fifteen tracks here, only seven have MC’s spitting verses, which means the other eight are typically four-minute long instrumentals that are begging for another rapper to re-purpose. Thus, my concern is that, by not finding someone to sing, rap, or toast atop your excellent tunes, a large portion of the project sounds like a well-produced collection of beats that you’re going to shop around to other artists for them to use.

For the most part, the music are stellar and up-tempo: the songs are club and dancehall friendly, with a retro soul/funk/hip-hop appeal that’s powered by rich bass lines (Duh.), horn bleats, guitar riffs, and a regular assembly of vocal samples chattering about “ancient astronauts.” The music is fun and engaging, and reminds me of an early-in-the-night DJ set designed to get people moving, one that makes you wonder if there actually is a live band playing somewhere, and not someone simply spinning wax.

In all seriousness, I quite enjoy the vast majority of Into Bass And Time – “Still A Soldier,” “Anti Pop Song,” “Eternal Sunshine” (featuring W. Ellington Fulton), “Give It To You” (featuring Monsoon), and “Last Night” (featuring Akua Naru) are all great cuts. Ancient Astronauts curate a wide variety of grooves, samples, ideas, hooks, and progressions with ease, managing to create a great throwback project that doesn’t sound clichéd. With a few more MC’s, this “post-hop” record could have easily ended up on my year-end “Best Of 2011” list. - Dryvetymeonlyne.com


""Into Bass And Time" review on Okayplayer"

Sophomore albums are a tricky entity. Sometimes they are an indication of growth and sometimes they fall flat because the artist or group tries to maintain any magic gained from their first effort, in a sense, clinging to other’s ideas of who they are and should be. Ancient Astronauts sophomore work Into Bass and Time shows nothing but growth and forward movement from the moment play is pressed.The German duo crafts the new album so that it flows through several different genres and technical approaches, which keeps the album fresh and moving along at a rapid pace even for the down tempo tracks. The music is cinematic in tone and allows the listener to create a landscape along with the sound being absorbed.

Out of the 15 tracks, 6 feature a vocalist or rapper, mixing in just enough vocals and giving glimpses of other quality musical/production/DJ duos like Handsome Boy Modeling School. With blistering raps from Azeem, Raashan Ahmad, and W. Ellington Fulton, fans of the lyrical side of hip-hop will absolutely get fed. Fans of the more instrumental side of music, tracks like “Noctune,” “Still a Soldier,” and “Worldwide” will certainly strike a chord. Also, the turntablism found of the album is pro-caliber scratching and helps to give many of the tracks that “authentic” feel.

With all the good found on this album, there is one minor misstep, though it comes at the end of the album. The track “Bitter Hypnotic” features a wobbly vocal performance by Phat Old Mamas that just doesn’t seem to fit.

All-in-all, Into Bass and Time serves up a hot plate of solid music in both production and vocals, and this is an album that should pique the interest of people who enjoy many different styles of sound when they take the time to listen.

-Jonathan Poppe - Okayplayer.com


Discography

2001 to 2011: diverse releases on Switchstance Recordings

2009: "We Are To Answer" - album on ESL Music.

2009: "Classic EP" on ESL Music.

2010: "Put Em Up EP" on ESL Music.

2011: "Into Bass And Time" - album on ESL Music

2011: "Worldwide EP" on ESL Music.

2012: 3 Remix EP´s on ESL Music

2012: new album "???"

Photos

Bio

The Ancient Astronauts are Kabanjak and Dogu, a bombastic production and DJ duo hailing from Cologne, Germany. The phenomenon of “ancient astronauts, “a belief that extraterrestrial beings visited Earth in ancient times to mingle and trade ideas with early human civilizations”, isn’t an alien concept to these Ancient Astronauts. The cross-pollination and mash-up of ideas, sounds, styles, and a collaborative spirit are their modus operandi.

Already having remixed and collaborated with Fort Knox Five, Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets, Zion I, Imani and Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde, Issa Bagayogo, Vieux Farka Toure, Kid Loco, Zion Train, and Tippa Irie the Ancient Astronauts have linked up with a variety of new sonic collaborators for their kaleidoscopic sophomore album Into Bass And Time!

Self described as a “mash up of the distant past and far future”; Ancient Astronauts have created an album born out of an eclectic mix of ideas, sounds and styles. Enlisting the talents of a variety of diverse MCs and vocalists, the album demonstrates impressive progress from their debut.

Although born in Germany, the long-time friends are quick to admit that they are not followers of the German music scene, Kabanjak notes, “for us music is and will always be an international phenomena”, and Ancient Astronauts are certainly not afraid to draw on influences from international artists and styles. By utilising their vintage-meets-future aesthetic, the duo has created an album infused with beats that defy any rigid classifications.

“At an early stage we realised that we are both big music heads so we started running parties in our hometown together”. Those parties soon led to music productions and a whole list of inspirational remixes. Following on from these early experimentations, 2001 saw the Ancient Astronauts begin Switchstance Recordings. Developed as a way of allowing the Astronauts total musical freedom, the label soon gathered momentum and built up an impressive fan base including the likes of veteran DJ Mr Scruff. Switchstance Recordings is now famous in international club circles for its infused, funky productions.

With influences ranging from Iggy Pop to Sigur Ross, Ancient Astronauts have come a long way since their early collaborative days. 2011 not only welcomes the tenth anniversary of the duo’s record label, it also welcomes an album that demonstrates the Astronauts’ undeniable potential for future ventures.