Even if you’re lucky enough to catch a direct flight, the travel time between Toronto and Melbourne is close to twenty-four hours. That’s a full day in the clouds, somewhere between the earth and the heavens, in transit to a final destination but nowhere in particular. A trip like that gives the traveler plenty of time to contemplate life, mortality, speed, the great beyond, and the strange, interconnected nature of world cultures. Songwriter and producer Jordan Astra knows all about those long hours spent in between international airports. He’s Toronto-roots, and he still has deep roots in his native city. Right now, he’s based in Melbourne, and he’s making a name for himself in Australia with his propulsive, exciting, subtly thought-provoking songs. And it’s a good bet that if he didn’t have the experience that he has – those long, ruminative days in transit – his music wouldn’t have the broad scope or spiritual depth that it does.
Consider “All Blessings”, his latest single. At first listen, it sounds like an irresistible club track: danceable, catchy, decorated by a bouncy bass synthesizer and a rapid-fire, wholly confident vocal performance by Jordan Astra himself. Dig a little deeper, though, and its cosmopolitan qualities become evident. The beats are redolent of UK house and London club music. The delivery is indebted to chart-topping American pop. The moodiness of the production nods to the prevailing tone of music from Toronto, which has become one of the world’s great music cities. And the lyrics demonstrate that Astra has his mind on more cosmic concerns than those that occupy the thoughts of his peers. “All Blessings” is an expression of gratitude by a true believer who knows he’s in the midst of a beautiful journey, and wants to stop and give thanks – both to the peers who inspire him and the Almighty who made him. Airplane thoughts for sure, but ones that those on the ground can easily relate to.
Video director Liam Giuliani is another young Melburnian with a story to tell. He’s distinguished himself as a photographer – his cityscape shots of Tokyo are breathtaking – with a particular talent for capturing musicians in live performance. In Jordan Astra, he’s found himself a perfect subject: expressive, winning, and effortlessly charismatic in front of the lens. Giuliani keeps the color palette simple, sticking to sunny yellows and cool denim blues, and lets Astra dominate the frames. He’s also included some gorgeous footage of Astra on a lonely stretch of highway between the Melbourne International Airport and Bendigo, once again in transit, lost in thought behind the wheel.