Track/video: Electronic Afro-futurist partnership Nyati Mayi & The Astral Synth Transmitters preview the rootsy ‘Try Sunshine’ ahead of debut album ‘Lulanga Tales’.

When curious minds eventually meet, things usually happen. Multi-instrumentalist/singer Nyati Mayi and DJ/producer soFa elsewhere (aka The Astral Synth Transmitters) may circulate within the wild oscillations of the Brussel’s experimental electronica scene but it took the relative isolation of the 2020 lockdown to bring the pair together.

One of the many musical snapshots Nyati posted on his Facebook page during those isolation days prompted soFa to put together a lo-fi remix version, ping it back to the source and from there the real action got started. As devotees of musical spontaneity, the duo set about recording the ebb and flow of the long improv sessions they convened, sessions which have now evolved into their first album ‘Lulanga Tales’ (available on Bongo Joe from 16th September).

The album promises to intrigue and entrance, revolving around the patterns Mayi conjures from his traditional instruments, the lulanga (a harp from his Congolese heritage) and the three stringed Japanese shamisen. Layer in his ethereal almost free-form vocals and soFa’s subtle synth based strata and there’s a possibility that another dimension is about to be added to the Afro-futurist soundscape.

‘Try Sunshine’ the first single from ‘Lulanga Tales’ certainly hints at such potential. Blending a strolling trip-hop skank with the shamisen’s rustic twang, the track dials up the bass line sensitively and weaves the percussive patterns with precision. Given character by Mayi’s earthy spell-casting chant and colour by soFa’s curdling kosmische electronics, you can appreciate why the pair say ‘complimentarity’ is at the soul of their music.

Belgium has history as a hotbed of Electro-African fusion music (think Mpunga and Paul K or the Crammed Discs catalogue) and it looks like the Nyati Mayi & The Astral Synth Transmitters could well be enhancing that reputation with their boundary pushing debut. Watch this space….

Pre-order your copy of ‘Lulanga Tales’ by Nyati Mayi & The Astral Synth Transmitters from your local record shop or direct at:

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