Azari – “GOTASOUL” A Song That Unites the Church and the Club
The YouTube Song
AZARI – Gotasoul ft. James Baley (Vocals) & Mixhell (303)
You’re being watched. Your every movement is being logged. Your window to the world is controlled by big corporations. Everything about you is being tagged and labelled because data is a new form of currency. Looking good is valued over doing good. Reality has become stranger than fiction. News has become propaganda. Your identity is no longer yours… all this means the world is more unsafe than ever. Yet, somehow, music has never been safer. One artist has had enough. He’s hungry for the power to be returned. That person used to be part of AZARI & III, the influential electronic band who blurred the lines between sounds, scenes, styles and cultures as they repeatedly played all over the world. AZARI is a mysterious embodiment of free thinking and unrestrained creativity that is utterly honest and heartfelt. It’s a social experiment that aims to drive music–rather than the musicians involved–into new realms. Having proven his skills to the world, then, AZARI is focussed on saying whatever he wants, however he wants to say it. This project is a reaction to perfection and predictability, a reminder that you don’t have to fit in to function. It’s a return to the raw, expressive and rule breaking days of punk and acid house. It embodies forward thinking music, art and visuals that have the power to incite shock and awe. It’s for a generation that looks beyond labels. It’s a project that places equal power with all genders, sexualities and races, and draws in outsiders at odds with the world’s current categories. The first single ‘Gotasoul’, featuring vocals from James Baley and Mixhell on the TB303, comes alongside a brand new video directed by Brooklyn cyber-art fixture James Moore. The video, starring up-and-coming model and artist Cheeky Ma, creates a visually spellbinding accompaniment to the stripped-down and addictive house groover. Set in a futuristic urban utopia, the video follows the journey of a cyber-being discovering her inner soul.
The New Yorker
In 2010, amid a boom of electronic musicians bolstered by home-recording technology—as well as a burst of dubstep-influenced, Vegas-bound E.D.M. d.j.s—a Toronto dance-music quartet called Azari & III took a divergent path. They doubled down on craft and emotion, creating artful but visceral music that propelled the house and techno of the nineties into the future. Their self-titled album, from 2011, accomplished a formidable task: compressing the sprawling bones of old-school rave music into digestible, pop-minded nuggets without sacrificing any of its integrity. At their best, they melded innovation and homage, creating modern diva-house anthems that satisfied musicologists while still drawing in a new generation of curious interlopers.
The group disbanded, in 2013, with little fanfare, after releasing just one proper album. Three years later, one member, Dinamo Azari, left fans with a cryptic message, by quietly releasing a gospel-flecked, rave-oriented solo album titled “Estranged.” His latest, a new single called “Gotasoul,” eschews the industrial darkness of that record for something more expansive. On this slick, exhilarating track, Azari deploys an androgynous-sounding vocalist named James Baley to deliver a message universal enough for the church, the club, or the vogue ballroom. His vocals are chopped and buried, indecipherable in the shadows of the song’s hundred-and-twenty-beat-per-minute rattle and squelch, until the chorus arrives: “I got a soul,” Baley repeats. There’s an alluring lack of specificity to the song: it could hail from the past or the future, from the depths of despair or the height of jubilance, from Chicago, New York, Detroit, or Toronto. But Azari spares you the bother of wondering. The message is so simple and the beat is so vigorous that it simply sounds like salvation.