It's November 1997, and Scottish-born Esra Tasasiz is living in Brussels, holding down a full-time job and hanging around a studio, singing on house records in her spare time.
One day, a mutual friend introduces her to Pierre Mussche, Ernst Meinrath and Renaud Charlier, collectively known as Musicom - three professional studio boffins, crafting tracks of electronic ambience and atmospheric, orchestral hip-hop, as soundtracks for adverts and films.
The four strike up a professional relationship for the purpose of recording a short, commercial piece of music, but the chemistry is startling, and it quickly becomes obvious that the tracks laid down in the sessions work outside the confines of cinematography.
The four form Airlock, and the chill beauty of 'Drystar' begins to take shape. True, there's a precedent in the itchy DJ Krush-isms of 'DJ Risk Vs Airlock', the edgy Underworld-on-downers atmospheric of 'In The Mouth Of The Fish', or the Massive Attack-esque avant-garde torchsong 'Awakening'. But Airlock's charm is the way they take their expertise of a modern studio, their commercial nous - and then slowly, surely twist such elegant compositions into alien shapes.
During the making of 'Drystar', Airlock struck up a relationship with cult film director Olivier Van Hoofstadt, and wrote some tracks in conjunction with the making of three of his films - Keo, Snuff Movie, and James-Bond-as-a-psycho-bitch-from-hell action thriller Parabellum. 'Face Down', the composition that appeared on Parabellum, crossed over onto European radio stations, and then made its way across to British record companies as part of a demo tape. Innundated with contracts, Airlock were spoilt for choice, but eventually signed to One Little Indian. "We were
impressed by their laid-back style, their flexibility," explains Esra.
'Drystar' was painstakingly pieced together over two-and-a-half years, featuring further production from Pascal Gabriel and Pete Davis. Meanwhile, Airlock surfaced from their Brussels studio to hone their live set, playing multi-media events in Belgian clubs. Plans for a comprehensive European tour are still being thrashed out, but expect Airlock to hit the road shortly after the release of the album.