wed 22/10/2014

Cassette: The Astroboy - The Chromium Fence | New music reviews, news & interviews

Cassette: The Astroboy - The Chromium Fence

Portuguese synthscapes look back to Germany and out to deep space

'The Chromium fence': 'If you're lucky enough to get one of the 100 cassette copies in existence, you will own something very precious'
'The Chromium fence': 'If you're lucky enough to get one of the 100 cassette copies in existence, you will own something very precious'

The Seventies “Kosmische” music of Germany – the more spaced-out and synthesister-led counterpart to Krautrock that had its commercial apogee in Tangerine Dream – seems to be a gift that keeps on giving. Perhaps because the releases were for so many years mainly obscure and had to be hunted down by passionate and/or deranged followers, it has built a global network of followers who extend its principles into new music. From Gorillaz' Damon Albarn to techno legends like Carl Craig, its rippling synth patterns and sidereal twinkles can be heard woven into the fabric of popular culture. And there are plenty who reproduce its most abstracted jams in pure form, too.

Whether the lush productions of France's Etienne Jaumet, the ragged and mind-scrambling audio art of Finland's Fonal records, or the gorgeous meditational sketches of Portuguese producer Luís Fernandes aka The Astroboy, plenty of musicians are tapping into the archaic technology and endless jamming of Kosmische music to produce fresh sounds. The Astroboy's science-fiction-themed pieces are in many senses very simple: they consist mainly of arpeggios, drones and twinkling high-end sounds that work entirely as textural pieces.

 

But their execution is so sincere, so impeccably rendered, that they have the sense of being devotional music, not so much above trends as oblivious to them in their pursuit of something superhuman in imaginitive scale. Like so much great experimental music now, this is only available on cassette or download – if you're lucky enough to get one of the 100 cassette copies in existence, you will own something very precious; how often do you hear that about a piece of music?

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