Background and production Edit
Following the release of Iñaki's album Empireo in 2014, Iñaki started to envision his next album. The primary inspiration was Björk's 2015 album Vulnicura, as well as the videogame series Oddworld for its otherworldy spiritual themes.
The recordings began in February 2015 with the ballad "Sever My Chains" and the rocky "Nonsensical". The buddhist thematic arrived soon enough with "Samādhi" and "Samsāra". The recordings, however, were stopped halfway during the year as Iñaki was preparing for his EMPIREAL concerts supporting his album Empireo. Furthermore, Iñaki's decision to change his stage name and persona to Akiba Jonze put a brutal halt in the project, as Akiba was now struggling to decide what his first release would be like.
Akiba had devised a first album called "Worlds" and containing remade versions of previous ambient and new age tracks as well as new ones so as to make himself more accessible to a new public. He had also started a second, celtic-themed project based on the moon.
Finally, during the Fall of 2015, Akiba decided he would continue with Akash, and so recorded the remaining tracks so as to release it in 2016.
Musically speaking, Akash is a mixture of different elements.
On one hand, there are the beats, painstakingly programmed from various beatbox samples to emulate styles such as dubstep for "Samsāra", techno for "Mothermantra", rnb for "Firebird" and "Holy Light", drum'n'bass for "Into the Edge" and experimental electronica for "Double Sun" and "Insectoid". On the other hand, there are the various instruments. The main instrument for Akash is the guitar, both acoustic and electric, but Akiba also used a series of instruments via apps, such as the Zither, the laser harp and the hang drum, giving Akash an eastern feel.
Some compositions are rather minimalistic, such as "Waiting" and "One Of Those Days", where Akiba's vocals are only accompanied by a pad or the sound of water.
The lyrics in Akash deal mostly with emotional issues, such as exhaustion ("Sever My Chains"), anger ("Double Sun"), hope ("Waiting", "Firebird", "Insectoid", "Into the Edge"), courage ("Holy Light"), honesty ("Words"), depression ("One Of Those Days") and love ("Samsāra", "Mothermantra", "Firebird"). Some lyrics also tackle buddhist themes such as reincarnation and enlightenment ("Samādhi", "Samsāra") or even mantras ("Mothermantra" makes use of fragments of the Shakti Mantra in its choruses and bridge).
Track listing Edit
- Sever My Chains
- Double Sun
- Holy Light
- One Of Those Days
- Into the Edge
Promotion for Akash began in January 2016 with Akiba performing "Samsāra" live during his MYLENIUM concert at La Fada Ignorant. The song itself was released as the first promotional single for Akash in February 2016, which quickly became Akiba's most-downloaded single to date.
The second single, Mothermantra, was released on April 2016.The title song was featured in WEATNU's Showcase Radio #3 online radio show.
The third and final single, Firebird, was released on May 2016 to coincide with Akiba's 光 (Llum) live performance at the 17th-century Casa Rull house-museum in Sispony (La Massana). The performance itself, styled after EMPIREAL, was a smashing success, managing to sell out the 17th-century venue.