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Ski Oakenfull : Producer / Composer / Remixer / Musician
Ski first made an impact in 1991 with The K-Creative, one of the initial singings to the then newly established Talkin' Loud Records. Co-writing & co-producing their debut album 'QED', he toured extensively throughout Europe and Japan. After his tenure with the The K-Creative ended, Ski joined UK soul-funk band Raw Stylus as keys man (touring & recording with legendary Steely Dan producer Gary Katz) and regularly performed with the in house band at Gilles Peterson's seminal club nights at Bar Rumba in London alongside visiting luminaries such as Guru from Gangstarr and iconic Brazilian superstar Flora Purim.
1994 saw Ski join ex-label mates Galliano as keyboard player. His relationship with the band grew, culminating in him co-writing and co-producing their final album '4'. The next few years saw Ski develop his writing & production skills further including writing sessions with Incognito and the release of the club classic 'Justify' on Bob Jones' short lived yet much missed Black on Black label. Ski also contributed tracks to a unique global collaborative project called 'Sun Sun'. This featured exclusive material from some the finest exponents of alternative contemporary dance music including DJ Cam, Bob Sinclar, Kruder & Dorfmeister and DJ Die. It was Ski's contribution, a deep & funky rolling number called 'Montreux a Marseilles' that brought him to the attention of Sony Columbia. They immediately signed him up and he recorded a version of the late Joe Henderson's jazz classic 'Tress Cun Deo La' featuring the vocal talents of Valerie Etienne. This was well received throughout Europe and it caught the ears of Philly's very own aqua boogie monster, King Britt, who supplied a beautiful remix.
Ski followed this with the release of his debut album 'Life Changes'. The album showed Ski as a true musical polymath, embracing influences and inspiration from house, disco, electro, jazz, soul and funk. 'Life Changes' is the distillation of musical experience, innovation, absorption and adventure. Over the next couple of years Ski went on to persue his passion for remixing and writing. High profile reworks of tracks such as 'I can See the Future' by Incognito (Talkin Loud), 'American Dream' by Jakata (Rulin) and 'Freak Like Me' by The Sugababes (Island) firmly established Ski as a true Nu-Jazz innovator and lead to countless remix offers.
Not one to stick to studio productions alone, Ski has provided his keyboard talents for many different bands such as Earl Zinger, 2 Banks Of 4, The Bays and even a brief spell with Kylie Minogue! ...and of course not forgetting playing his own gigs all around Europe, including a gig at Cargo in London for Gilles Peterson's Glenfiddich Independent Mix. Ski is also not averse to spinning the odd record or two and has played at clubs across London and Tokyo.
For his second (and most recent) album 'Rising Son' in 2005, Ski teamed up with Bluey and DJ Venom to produce an intoxicating blend of classic Old skool house to Nu skool soul and uplifting funktronica. It features Amp Fiddler on 2 cuts, Chi Turner on 3 cuts, Tony Momrelle and Earl Zinger and Valerie Etienne. It was initially released in Japan on Pony Canyon and later worldwide on BBE.
Most recently Ski has completed a new project under the guise of Ayota. Initially inspired by a Japanese friend's book of Poetry entitled Helicopter Flying In A Cloudy Sky, Ski wrote soundtracks to three of the poems. This quickly developed into an album project continuing a Japanese ambient theme. The result is 'Helicopter Cuts'. Ski has had the opportunity to showcase the album live at the Big Chill Festival, Bestival, and most recently at Nick Luscombe's Flomotion night at the Big Chill House. The album was released in Japan only on Third Ear Records in 2006, and will hopefully see a release in 2010 on Third Ear UK.
2010 has seen Ski play live at a number of club nights & festivals with The Bays, complete two new remixes for Incognito, release a new EP featuring a cover of the classic YMO track, 'Thousand Knives' and also write and produce demos for the newly signed Murray James.
Biography originally written by Tony Higgins and later adapted by Ski