Kai Altair is a singer-songwriter and electronic music producer, incorporating elements of world fusion, tribal dance, myth, storytelling and dreams in her original productions. A student of ancient musical, movement, and healing traditions, her intention is to inspire connection to the multiverse, and to help create an elevated state on the dance floor.
The original songs on her latest album ‘Dreamwalker’ have been reimagined by a stellar lineup of her friends and contemporaries: Desert Dwellers, Govinda, David Starfire, Kaminanda, Living Light, HÄANA, Erothyme, Haj i Ji, Sera Solstice and Joro Boro. The result is a potent full-length remix album, ‘Shapeshifter’ – a medicinal, inspiring, exquisite listening experience for the mind, body and soul.
Kai’s deeply resonant, dynamic voice and soulful lyrics are perfectly matched by these psy-bass luminaries. She seems to have found her niche by weaving original, organic recordings with experimental producers’ digital interpretations. Living Light’s psy-dub remix of “Draw Down the Moon” will make you sweetly sway in trance, while Erothyme’s gnarly re-envisioning of “Curiosity” is straight out of the Aphex Twin catalog. On “The Calling,” Govinda provides a powerful effect with the iconic sound of his violin. David Starfire’s hyphy, glitched remix of “Ancient Future” is beautifully juxtaposed with Joro Boro’s stripped down, mellow version.
100% of the proceeds from the featured single on the album, “Mama Ocean” (Desert Dwellers Remix), will be donated to the Coral Reef Alliance.
“Water is life!! The oceans really need our attention and support, so this was the obvious choice for us to do a remix!” ~ Amani Friend (Desert Dwellers)
Keyframe caught up with Kai Altair to discuss her singing history, new album, environmental concern, and upcoming projects.
You have a beautiful, deep alluring voice. Tell us about your earliest singing experience and the role it’s played in your life.
Thank you. Singing has been with me for as long as I’ve been speaking. My parents and grandparents always encouraged me to sing. One of my earliest memories is when I was about 4 years old, lying in my bed, singing into a tape recorder, and playing it back to myself over and over. Some of those recordings were played to my grandfather when he was very sick. He always told me that hearing my voice played a role in his recovery. I think it helped me to grow up carrying faith in the healing power of sound.
What inspired this remix album? What were some intentions behind recreating your existing tracks?
I really love remixes, and I was excited to have the opportunity to reach out to some of my favorite artists for collaboration. I love the idea of a song being reborn in new ways, and shifting into something new. I get the feeling my songs like to be imagined in many different ways, that there isn’t just one way to hear them. In the case of Shapeshifter the new versions are a dream come true.
The album features remixes by a range of artists that perform at festivals. What was your first experience in festival culture?
My experience coming of age in the underground Brooklyn arts scene was definitely my first exposure to transformational culture. Being a part of productions that turn warehouses into wonderlands is very similar to what goes on at a full-on festival. I love creating things that help transport people to places far away from ordinary reality.
Water and the oceans are important to you. Tell us about your ocean conservation work, or about the environmental message you want to relay to your audience.
Creating art that inspires and sparks connection to the ocean is one of the most important things in my life. The sea contains a living presence of mystery and the divine that is capable of moving us toward our own inner depths. The connection is there because of the simple fact that the ocean gives us and the planet life. The important message that needs to go out right now is that there is an emergency going on. The ocean is dying very quickly, and there are things we can do to help it come back to life. It has a magical ability to regenerate itself if we can become better stewards, and begin to work with it in more harmonious ways.
What’s next for you?
I am working on a new album inspired by stories and visions from dreams and journeys in non-ordinary reality. I’m blessed to be collaborating with Haj i Ji, who is an incredible musician and producer. It’s an album about traveling, a set of songs and sounds that are kind of like letters home from adventures across the multiverse.
Listen and download ‘Shapeshifter’ on Bandcamp
Keyframe is proud to support artists committed to uplifting their community and bringing awareness to environmental causes. Keyframe encourages artists to follow their passion and share their inspirational message with the world!
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