Get lost in Asante Phenix’s futuristic fable, ‘Katana’
Ghanian born singer-songwriter ASANTE PHENIX, lives in New York now. But for his newest track, he has us venturing deep into a snowy, mountain-top bonsai temple only to open the doors and enter a present-day Tokyo city street.
Two titanic soundscapes clash in an epic martial arts battle, flowing within each other as if dodging deadly blows, moving so deliberately even though they know any sudden movements could mean disaster. An elegant mix of ancient Japanese music samples represent Japan, in the figurative collection of cultures that is ‘Katana’, sounding like a mix of modern-day Japan meeting the mean streets of New York, brought together with the grace and composure of a fabled ancient samurai master – Phenix being the samurai in this case.
“She said she from Japan, where the gangstas at,” Phenix immediately draws the comparison between the concrete jungle that birthed the most famous gangsters, and its counterpart on the other side of the world.
Everywhere you turn your ears, you hear the kung-fu fighting of the two sub-cultures. Phenix has continued the rich tradition of fusion music, but has also reached a place of heavenly enlightenment with this idea of mixing music from ancient and modern culture and pushing it into new relevance.
Taking inspiration from one Frank Ocean, the comparisons are plentiful in Phenix’s music. Not only does it share a soundscape, the confident fragility in ‘Katana’ is what has made Ocean so accessible an artist. It’s a kindred talent they share, one that will serve Phenix greatly. The way in which he can create the idea that the past and the present can exist as a metaphor of itself is something I’ve only seen represented so well and so contemporary in Ocean’s music.
The watermark of a true artist, like Ocean, Phenix has simply taken a new look at older scenes and re-modernised them. It’s an impersonal meta view of post-modern art (post-post-modern even) in the sense that what is being recreated we’ve all seen before. But, as we are beginning to see more and more with the uprising of the technological age, this is also a completely different take on recycled sentiments that are expressed in an equally unique and beautiful way as the first people to will those sentiments into existence.
Comparisons aside, Phenix has created a fusion masterpiece of epic proportions, to this day we are yet to see many people have two sounds dance around their complete opposition in such elegance. The only thing left for you now, is to listen.
Bless your ears, and ease your soul with ‘Katana’.
Words by STEVE COPP
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