Isaac Aesili is a beautiful human being. My first impression of the man was his glowing and infectious smile, a shiny and immaculate afro, and the energy to dance all night which he certainly maintained as he sweated it out on the dance floor of the Ponsonby Social Club. Speaking to him, he is soft spoken and incredibly humble for one so gifted.
The trumpet player and percussionist of OpenSouls and the Recloose band has just finished a new instrumental project with his brother Mark under the moniker of the Karlmarx project. While Isaac is based in Auckland, producing, sessioning and playing live, his brother is a musician and a sound engineer based in their hometown of Christchurch (my thoughts go out to the victims of the earthquake...). The collection of tracks called the Mists EP are to be released by Melting Pot Music; good news as most New Zealand music doesn't see release outside of the country.
They call it "a soundtrack for a science fiction movie that was never made," and it's no surprise then that Isaac cites Vangelis, Animal Collective, Enya, Dam Funk, Aphex Twin, Depeche Mode as the project's influences. Emotional and mystical, yet danceable, many of the tracks maintain a strong melody although being instrumental.
Isaac shared some thoughts with PMOI about his new project:
What was the motivation behind The Mists EP?
The Mists EP is a reflection of my interest in instrumental hip hop, electronic funk and techno music in contrast to the more vocal based soul and r&b sound of my solo album Eye See. They are cousins but Eye See has more organic textures whereas The Mists EP is relatively minimal and electronic in its timbre.
How was the working dynamic with your brother?
It was so easy to work with my brother, we knew so much intuitively about each others background and character, we respect and are intrigued by our differences and it was surprising to know how much music we both have appreciation of. Being in different cities meant it was mostly an internet production with us working separately on tracks as well as collaborating on each others ideas.
Auckland is a unique intimate music scene, revolving round Opensouls so it seems, where everyone is guesting on each other's projects. How do you see your music in relation to that?
For the last 7 years Opensouls has been pivotal to Auckland's soulful hip hop and funk scene but we have just broken up. Being a member of Opensouls has blessed me with great friendships and fellow collaborators such as Julien Dyne. As a musician able to work in multiple roles from session musician to composer and producer i have been lucky enough to be exposed to the amazing work of these local artists and this has definitely inspired me and helped me to find the direction of my own music.
I hear you might be touring Europe soon?
Yes I'll be in Europe for at least 3 months based in Hamburg from June to september touring to promote Karlmarx and my solo album.
So more music will be coming your way soon in the form of a full album and hopefully a session in Europe over the Summer.
Check out their tracks here.
My personal favourite is "Osc" which you can hear below.