Ishaia Akanni

Her first EP sold five copies.

It was a house remix of Low Earth Orbit's Kessler Vibes mixtape, recorded using the audio capture function of an antediluvian cassette player pilfered from a Lagrange runner, with additional beat tracks from a Giorgio PUNK-4. You may remember this synthesiser: it briefly appeared on the music video of Akanni's latest single, Tales From the Spiral Arms, which was downloaded a billion times in the span of twenty-four hours.

Ishaia Akanni isn't just a widely known artist, she is the music superstar of the interstellar era. At thirty-seven, she already released seven studio-length EPs under the Moon Records label and had her tunes sampled by hundreds of songs, from amateur grunge mixtapes cooked in the underbelly of Belt stations to the chart-toppers of legendary hard rock band Squirrels Die Twice. Standing at the crossroads of Terran, Lunar and Eloran influences, Ishaia Akanni is a remarkably eclectic artist.

It is hard to pin her to a specific style or even musical genre -- and indeed, she takes a great deal of amusement in blurring the tracks. Her first studio EP, Oberth Manoeuver was a solid five-track ensemble of neo-synthwave, wearing its inspirations on its sleeves -- Low Earth Orbit and Astronomics in particular, the two pioneers of spaceborne electronic music having had a great influence on the burgeoning artist. Her second album, Lagrange Conundrum, was a fast-paced affair at the crossroads of disco and synthwave. Her third album, Here Fades the Moonlight, crowned her as the undisputed queen of the interstellar electronic music genre -- the album's most famous song, Inyanga, with its riffs sampled from audio translations of Jupiter's magnetic field, is widely considered as the precursor of the legendary Xango Beat. By her fourth studio EP, Multispectral Songs, a spectacular collection of self-contained electronic operas, Akanni was already growing weary of her own style. Her next work was a stark departure from the gentle beats and grandiose synthesiser riffs. Spinward Burn was a pure hardcore EP, eight songs with racing beats and aggressive vocals designed for the underground scene of the outer planets. Enchanted by her ventures in other pastures, Akanni then produced two radically different works: Moon Deco, a neo-jazz EP, and the ironic disco masterpiece that is her last album to date, RCS Failure. Ishaia Akanni is a chameleon, twisting and turning the staggeringly diverse Lunar music scene into multicultural soundscapes that draw hundreds of millions of fans towards her albums and concerts. Superficial, too eclectic and prolific for her own good, unable to keep to a personal style, say the critics -- and Akanni herself wouldn't disagree with them. But the asexual icon and solar system celebrity cares little for consistency. She has a million ideas a minute and music is the only way she's found to silence that noisy multitude.

In another era, Akanni would be filthy rich, but in the post-capitalistic economy of the Moon Communes, there is no such thing as a millionaire, and she is as wealthy as the other seven million Selenites, living on a comfortable but mundane universal income and free public services. The staggering revenue generated by the sales of her digital albums and cassettes goes entirely to the Communes. Ishaia Akanni lives in a standard-issued appartment on Copernicus Station, but her art is worth the GDP of a medium-sized Jovian moon. It is little wonder that she managed to get a seat at the Selene Council and a voice in the foreign politics of the Moon. For all intents and purposes, Ishaia Akanni is the single best ambassador of the world's oldest syndicalist state...and a remarkable source of income. 

Character illustration from a stock archive by PO-Art.

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