Azari & III
Inside their clandestine studio you’ll find Azari & III buried in a throbbing groove, seemingly oblivious to a visitor. (Alphonse) Alixander (Lanza) III wheels his chair back and forth between the mixing console to the racks of outboard gear behind him, minutely and obsessively tweaking the Neve EQ of a beat coming from an old 12bit drum sampler, one he bought earlier that day. Behind him, Dinamo Azari is playing a menacing yet oddly beautiful melody on one of the many synths scattered around the cluttered dimly lit room, completely lost in the moment. Slouched on a couch, thin Nubian front man Starving Yet Full hums the beginnings of a hook quietly to himself in a soft falsetto. Feeling more sure of his idea, he lets loose with a soulful riff on a few words that immediately shifts the mood of the emerging skeleton track. With a paranoid screech the piano booth door opens and Fritz Helder dances his way back into the room, notebook in hand, immediately launching into an impromptu call-and-response routine with SYF.
Unfortunately, this kind of session is all too rare for them these days, as the huge buzz that’s been generated by their early singles Hungry For The Power and Reckless (With Your Love) has kept them in constant demand in clubs and festivals worldwide. Transcending genres and scenes, their high profile fans range from Annie Mac to Grizzly Bear, Boys Noize to Broken Social Scene. They’ve collaborated with UK blowups Friendly Fires, as well as done wisely chosen remix work for Robyn, Cut Copy, Booka Shade, Creep (Romy of the XX) and LA’s noise darlings Health. There are actually too many remixes to mention, covering ground from wistful, sad ambient-scapes to punkish, chugging techno frenzies. This is not an act that seems to be locked into any restrictive scene, but rather bridge builders between the dance and rock worlds, under and overground sensibilities.
Though to some outside of Canada this might seem like an overnight success, Azari & III as individuals have paid their dues slogging it out under various aliases in the clubs and studios since the mid-nineties. Between the four of them they’ve experimented with everything from house to garage rock, shoegazer to mutant disco. But something new clicked in 2008 when they first joined forces in that secret musical lair. A sound came out that was somehow timeless without being retro. Given the equipment and methods, these songs could have been recorded in the late 80s, but they sound completely modern and at home on the current playlist or dancefloor. When the two vocalists enter the mix, they finesse a formula that’s seen them charting all over the world - currently #1 on German Club Charts (ed.01/06/11) - and being written about furiously in both the mainstream and underground music press.