King of Dahomey is DJ, soul music historian, and radio personality Ayana Contreras on vintage analog synths and vocals.
A frequent collaborator to the project in its early phase was composer and saxophonist David Boykin on drumset and reeds.
Electric music in the analog age: the dividing line between past and an unknown future. An aural metaphor for tomorrow. And yet today, the sound is inextricably linked to the past. Today, many of these sounds are stylish, recreated with hyper-real perfection on midi keyboards across the world. No longer does a keyboardist need a bank of keys.
No longer does a soundsystem need a modular wall of sound.
No longer does a player have to think about transistors, or falling in and out of tune, cables fanning out like veins, or breathing. Analog electronic instruments were created with the sort of idiosyncrasies now more likely found in the living realm.
Ayana is particularly interested in utilizing obsolete electric analog instruments that at one point were cutting edge: from a Farfisa Professional organ circa 1969 (used by Sly Stone, Sun Ra, and the keyboardist from Fela Kuti & Africa 70) to the Arp Soloist of 1971 (utilized by Funkadelic’s Bernie Worrell, early Ohio Players, and numerous other artists), and the Rhythm Ace (the first stand alone electronic drum machine on the market back in 1967).