- Armon Bazile's brand of deep has always been expansive; the type of sound that has you gazing to a darkened cosmic infinity way off beyond the stars. This is particularly true of his most prolific alias, Aybee. In fact, if it's possible, his latest full-length, Worlds, is even deeper than 2009's East Oakland Space Program. It's stripped even barer, and in place of human colourings like soul and jazz are distinctly alien details.
There are just about enough beats and recognisable percussive sounds for Worlds to be loosely called deep house, but claps certainly don't sit on the two and the four, and in fact regimented twos and fours hardly exist at all. So awesomely spacious are efforts like the floating intergalactic bump of "Landing" that it's as if they have no outer edge whatsoever. On "What Is," beautifully splashy claps ring out into an empty abyss with only dangling melodic droplets for company. There's also a scuffed, stuttering kick drum but it doesn't anchor you, instead acting like a propeller, steering you further through the unknown.
As clichéd as albums that set out to be journeys can be, Worlds is not—but it sure does evoke the feeling of travelling on board a spacecraft. From lift-off phase to encounters with lurching bass and beyond, things move at exactly the right pace. Basically it's never indulgent. The more propulsive dance floor passages, like the shadowy, melt-in-your-ears techno of "Solaris" and tumbling clatter of "Moon's Whisper" make sure of that, sounding like early Carl Craig tripping with a modern day Jus-Ed.
On this evidence, the Deepblak boss must be an optimist: most visions of the future and space exploration involve apocalypses, desolation and isolation, but his is calm and serene, with beauty to be found everywhere (though hints of menace do lurk in certain pockets to keep you on your toes). Closer "Ascending" is the most soothing of them all, suspending you next to echoing string-plucks in a sea of synthy tranquillity. It's a suitably blissful track on which to end the odyssey—an odyssey that takes you galaxies further than you might think possible in just 44-odd minutes.
01. The Portal
05. MoonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Whisper
08. What Is
10. Siganls feat. Damon Bell
11. Uni Sun