Whenever I think of Phoenix Arizona, I think of stunning sunsets. Skies slashed with hues of yellow, orange and purple–skies stretched so tightly over the Earth’s surface, you feel as though you can reach out and grab them.
Recently, I came across a new point of reference for the valley city. A musical one. Please give a warm welcome to self-proclaimed “musician and sound scientist” Kareem Ali and his recent record ‘Starshine Blues’.
Coming together in a single 16-hour session, ‘Starshine Blues’ is a treat in jazz-inspired house. Founded on a classic house kick with slinky jazz percussion, Kareem takes us on a voyage. Littered with off-the-cuff spoken word and sprightly trumpet, the track is an all-out celebration. That gorgeous horn you hear…that’s Kareem too! “Yep, that’s me. I’ve been playing the trumpet for 19 years!”
‘Starshine Blues’ is the sequel to an older jam of his by the name of ‘Black Space Jazz’. A storyline he says that will have many more musical iterations– “I’ll definitely be expanding on these, they’re all actually inspired by the score of my favourite anime, Cowboy Bebop.” Be sure to give ‘Black Space Jazz’ a spin, it’s pure joy.
When I ask about how he first got into the production game, Kareem’s answer is straight as an arrow. Dan.
“He was my friend and college roommate. He put me onto Flying Lotus and Miles Davis’ electric era. He put me onto midi keyboards and Ableton. Changed my life.”
It seems if Dan hadn’t introduced him to experimental audio, the Kareem Ali project would never have taken flight. Dan, wherever you are. Thank you. This was 2013 and ever since Kareem has been working doggedly at his craft. You only have to take a peek at his stacked Bandcamp to realise his consistent output.
‘Starshine Blues’ comes at us via Kareem’s very own CosmoFlux imprint. A label that champions the creative work of emerging Black artists only. A label where 100% of the proceeds go directly back to the artists themselves. “They own their masters, licensing and distribution. I use CosmoFlux as a way to give artists a bigger platform and teach them about the music business.”
One day, he hopes to turn CosmoFlux into a fully-fledged talent agency. A place where Black creators can harness their full potential in whatever field of expression calls to them.
Keep building Kareem. Skies the limit.
Lines like “I don’t want to be here all of my life” and “Living my life, doing what I say,” are empowering and resonate universally. There’s a Nai Palm-esque (Hiatus Kaiyote) flavour to Squidgenini’s vocal tone–each note dripping in soul and indefinable magic.
Today, we’re lucky enough to premiere the live stream of Henry’s set – a journey sprinkled with never before heard edits from the man himself. By the looks of things, this was one hell of a time at the controls as well as for those on the dancefloor.