Ancient Astronauts - We Are To Answer
I started off on the wrong foot with this album, foolishly considering each track as a standalone piece rather than as a constituent part of an organic whole. In my defence the host of guest artists listed on the album do give the impression of a compilation rather than an holistic body of work.
Hunched in my cell at Music Fix headquarters I sat, feeding crumbs to a feral pigeon, wondering just what the point of this album was. Who on earth? I asked the pigeon Who on earth would want an album of random guest acts interspersed with ambient soundscapes?
Idiot boy cooed the pigeon these astronauts travel through space and time so your earthbound notions are facile and laboured. Realising that the pigeon was right I resigned myself to another evening of confinement, listening to each track again whilst carving the passing days on the cell wall.
Footsteps. Light floods into the cell. Finally! The editor roughly cuts though my ropes and informs me that it is my turn to leave the headquarters and take the Music Fix jalopy on a road trip across Mid Wales. Pausing only to grab my thermos and Ancient Astronauts disc I gun the engine and head for the hills. Finally, as I traverse the wild beauty of the countryside, I come to understand the album and begin to appreciate its beguiling charm. The Astronauts talents lie in creating an ambient soundscape which seamlessly assimilates the work of their guest artists. Nothing disturbs the ambience of the whole, and the album integrates daisy age rap, drum & bass, ragga and sweet soul in-between expertly crafted instrumental interludes which are reminiscent of Air.
As I drive I leave the album on repeat and enthusiastically drink in tracks which, as standalone works had left me cold. So we don’t get anything like the best work of the Pharcyde or Tippa Irie but the important thing is that it works in context. The mood is largely laid back but the inclusion of the dystopian Oblivion featuring DJ Zeph and Azeem injects a welcome note of discord which provides a degree of balance to the album.
In short, if gangsta rap and histrionic R&B make you pine for the days of De La Soul then this could be the album for you.