Astral TV hails from Copenhagen and is comprised of RasmusRasmussen from Aerosol and Causa Sui, and Keith Canisius. The two have released their second LP, after 2017’s Chrystal Shores. It’s an all-instrumental electronic affair whose 14 tracks are perfect for stargazing or exploring either inner or outer space.
Between them, Rasmussen and Canisius have a veritable stockpile of vintage analog and digital synths and effects toys, and the results reflect this blend of old and new electronic sounds. The record was culled from many long nights of jamming with the tape – okay, the ones and zeros – rolling, whittling the massive results down to as many as 60 tracks, and again to the final 14, adding new layers, and refining and rendering them ship shape.
What you get is a very pleasurable collection of electronic sound collages. There are both tracks that entice you for something more, and medium-size tracks full of the limitless sonic possibilities that Bob Moog and all those who came after him gifted us. The pieces are never dull, full of blinking rhythms and appealing melodies that weave in and out endlessly with their myriad sound oscillations. You can hear traces of practitioners of cosmic art such as Tangerine Dream, Radiophonic Workshop, Suzanne Ciani and Jonn Serrie (if you’re unfamiliar with him but like space music, run, don’t walk).
To mention a couple, pieces such as “Oumuamua” dazzle, glitter and sparkle. Named for the first detected interstellar interloper, was there ever both a discovery and a name so tailor-made for a piece of space music? Now that we have a second detected object, comet 2I/Borisov, you can bet the race is on for artists to claim Borisov for their next magnum opus. The album’s longest track, “Different Dreams,” is probably the most fully-realized work. Intricate, diaphanous, drifting and ethereal – all these things describe “Different Dreams.” Both “Oumuamua” and “Different Dreams” introduce floating electric guitar to the electronic tossed salad, and elevate them further into the dreamscape.
Despite the lack of any kind of song structure, I found myself returning again and again to Travelling the Circuits. Repeated listenings certainly lead to more discovery and pleasure. And the Danish word for “circuits” can also mean “orbits” – perfect. This is an album to slow down with and enjoy, look up, look out, look in, and exhale.
Originally published in the Terrascope.
Mark Feingold loves listening and turning others on to great music. He also writes for the UK's Terrascope Online (Terrascope.co.uk). He loves film and literature, and played in the legendary band The Vandals.