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Red hot Italian DJ and production collective Aura Safari is back with a second full-length album, Island Dreams. It lands on Hell Yeah Recordings on September 15th and is another live and sun-kissed odyssey through balmy Mediterranean evenings, gorgeous sundown sessions and funky analogue grooves.  

Andrea Moretti, Lorenzo Lavoratori, Daniele Melloni, Nicholas Iammatteo, Lorenzo Francioli, Ruggero Bonucci and Nicola Pitassio are Aura Safari, and between them, they play drums, percussion, bass, keys, and guitar. They contributed to the first volume of the Buena Onda compilation in 2020 on this label, a year after serving up a debut album on London's Church Records. Since then they have become ever more entrenched in their local scene in Perugia. They are skilled musicians and instrumentalists with an effortlessly charming sound inspired by having grown up attending the Umbria Jazz Festival and spending winters keeping warm at the legendary Red Zone Club, while these days and host their own Tropical Climax parties each month in the town centre.

Aura Safari are also deep-digging music collectors who have extensive and far-reaching tastes. When cooking up their sounds they draw on everything from Afro to Italo, house to disco, 80s boogie to world music, jazz and Balearic beats. This new album shows that once more across four sides of vinyl that sweep you up and transport you to somewhere idyllic.

The title track kicks off with steamy Mediterranean grooves embellished with lush Rhodes chords and sprinkles of cosmic magic. 'Sur Mon Balconnet' then slips into dubbed-out disco territory with 80s synths and leggy drums while 'Riserva Naturale' is a new-age jazz house sound with majestic lead synths and heart-melting chords that speak of a sunset dance on the beach. 'Onda' has squelchy boogie bass with hip-swinging drums, 'Wave Riding' is a lo-fi funk excursion with hints of West Coast Californian swagger and 'Magic Malbe' is loose-limbed Balearica with clear blue skies and blissed-out chords.

'Dancing in the Moonlight' featuring legendary Zeke Manyika has all the vibrant feelings of bubblegum pop with Afro vocals and steel drum sounds next to rich xylophone sounds. There is plenty of heat and exotic charm to the proto-Afro house of 'Tropical Climax' and as well as dub versions of 'Sur Mon Balconnet' and 'Dancing in the Moonlight' come the scuffed-up Dam-Funk style beats and boogie of 'Disco Mantra' before closer 'Patagonia' shuts down with elastic drums and bass and playful synth leads that send you home wanting more.

Island Dreams is a tropical escape to a rich world of fusion sounds that look back to go forwards. It's a feel-good record to accompany hot nights and lazy afternoons, cocktails at dusk and dancing till dawn.
 

15/09/23

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