Selector’s Afrofuturist series highlights the work of emerging BIPOC talent in electronic music.
If anything is evident from listening to Byron The Aquarius, it’s that he draws from a rich history of musical influences. Melody, counterpoint, soul, and rhythm come together in his eclectic, jazz-infused deep house cuts. The last 15 years have been a whirlwind of high-profile production credits, world tours, and beat making from his home in Alabama. It’s all culminated in an album titled Ambrosia, his debut release on Jeff Mills‘ Axis Records.
The almost improvisational nature of “Spirit of Juju,” exemplifies the Byron The Aquarius (real name Byron Blaylock) style to a T. His skills as a classically trained jazz pianist are on full display. He deftly navigates a nearly seven-minute excursion through a multitude of bluesy, syncopated motifs. All while, a lightly thumping kick drum and frenetic snares keep the time. Byron plays all the parts of a futuristic jazz trio beautifully here.
Blaylock began his journey as a student of jazz and classical. While he was in college and mostly making hip-hop beats, he had a chance meeting with Detroit’s Kai Alcé. The fortuitous introduction not only allowed him to explore the less mainstream side of dance – it also was an education in the inherent Blackness at the core of house and techno. The meeting with the Detroit producer also helped him along a path that led to him working with Eminem, and helped Blaylock begin to forge a career in music that would allow him space to truly be himself in his musical output.
You can purchase Ambrosia in its entirety via Axis Records.