ASTRAL is the second LP from Toronto artist Kampala Social Club. The project’s architect, Steven Fernandez, is a Canadian producer whose meditative, instrumental recordings were born from a reach into his ancestral history and present day spiritual practices. And as with his self-titled debut, the music’s goal is to tell a story while helping the listener connect with its own.
ASTRAL is a continuation of KSC’s purpose, which is ultimately the exploration of time and space through music.
Singles “Astral Sensei”, and “Astral Tribes” are sharp, atmospheric beat-driven tracks that add a new dimension to the catalogue. With “Astral Sensei” we reflected on the role of the teacher, the critical source of future knowledge, assumptions, fears. The switch operators of our direction as people.
“All stories no matter how large or small have an origin and a teacher who passes them on,” Fernandez explains. “The teachers who I choose to listen to, believe their stories or accept their ideas will shape life.”
With “Astral Tribes,” the focus shifts to the role of the community, a teacher in its own right.
“Since the first recorded history of human beings, we have congregated in tribes. Tribes of human beings that help define our existence, reflect that we exist and ultimately keep us safe,” Fernandez continues.
“This piece was created to inspire humans to remember we come from one tribe. Human. And to let go of the idea of the individual being the centre of existence.”
“Astral Light” and “Astral Rebirth” bring the listener back into the meditative realm exemplified by previous releases “COT2ON” and “SPAC3S,” seeking to further explore the space inside time.
The Astral is a channel into the unknown. Past the understanding of words or the physical, however no farther than the tip of your breath. From the Astral we can find the answers to the questions we seek. It is the beginning of infinity or the loop between consciousness as awareness, and awareness as consciousness. It’s the shortest distance to the truth.
Kampala Social Club is an experiment in journeys. The quest for self, the search for connection to the past and present. Seeking a known place in your own existence, and a place within its future.
In tangible form, the Kampala Social Club was a gathering place for the Goan middle class in the early 20th century Uganda. At the club, people sought to gather, connect and find safety amongst themselves. It was a central site in Fernandez’ own family – giving it legendary and weighted symbolic status via his parents – both immigrants to Canada in the late 60s.
Using the rich historical backdrop of the social club – the musical project seeks to support foundational explorations in mindfulness. Purpose in action, in reflection and in the journey to understand is at the core of the music – but the true value lies in the listener’s ability to embark on its own journey.
“Though the name is tied to culture, it’s really about the symbol of safety and freedom,” Fernandez concludes. “The hope that we can find refuge in sound, slow our minds down and feel safe to express all sides of our human experience in the lives we lead.
Fernandez has found direct utility for the music within his own sound meditation business – Pause + Expand – started for the purpose of supporting the mindfulness community.
“The music is a refuge from a world that in my experience works to never stop,” he concludes. “A companion in your life taking up as little or as much space as you allow.”
ASTRAL is streaming everywhere now via 444%.