The mysterious afro-soul of The Shaolin Afronauts first echoed across the dance floors of Australia in late 2008. Heavily inspired by the sounds of 1970's West Africa, Ethiopia and the pioneering avant-garde jazz artists of the same period, The Shaolin Afronauts draw on the this highly innovative and sometimes volatile era in music, using it as inspiration to create music with the same fire and intensity. Though there is something refreshing and original about the Afronauts, their music could be described as somewhere in between the heavy Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and the Ethio-Jazz of Mulatu Astatke. The key to the Shaolin Afronauts unique sound is the line-up, which comprises of a three piece horn section, 5 piece rhythm section and three percussionists, and this polyrhythmic approach layers the groups sound with a mesmerizing and hypnotic texture.
Kicking off with Journey Through Time the multiple layers of percussion and rhythms indeed unleash an unstoppable groove, which is nicely balanced against the albums slower, more introspective moments, such as Rise With The Blind which along with haunting, mellow Scarab prove that contemporary afrobeat rooted music doesn't always have to be an unrelenting, uptempo assault on the senses and can provide moments of sheer beauty and reflection.