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Another7Astronauts – The Golden Autumn And The Afternoon – LP review

Another7Astronauts a experimental symphonic collective of around 15 musicians based in Louisville in the USA has an LP set for digital release on the 23rd October 2012 – The Golden Autumn and the Afternoon.

Another Seven Astronauts - The Golden Autumn And The Afternoon

Another Seven Astronauts –                                 The Golden Autumn And The Afternoon

The review is best written with a glass of sparkling white and I suggest when you settle down to listen to the LP a free stretch of time an open mind and a quiet space would be appropriate for this singular nine track release. I have a pre-release version to consider here, so I will will work on the basis I have the right track order.

Opening with the seven minutes of  Scattered Movements of Pulverized Explosions keyboard loops and sounds of the Indian Sub-Continent float their way in to the room. Unfettered by time, the layers of sound are allowed to slowly build to the point of hypnosis and the listener drifts off on a cloud of ethereal smoke.

Next up comes Gobi Desert – ruminations of percussion set the scene to a faster string driven piece, bizarrely the sounds emerging are reminiscent of North Africa/Arabic rather than the true geographic home – Mongolia – that may have been anticipated by the title. Regardless, the experimental derivations of the collective come to the fore with this track of roughly four and half minutes. On occasion street parade trumpets rise above the ever present percussive weave.

Helicopters – I just enjoy – on the basis of the opening of what sounds like steel drum and xylophone clatter in to the room, before a panoply of wind and stringed instruments join this brief and unbalancing composition.

The Water Carrier brings to the fore keys and electronics as with the previous tracks, where excessive volume and confusion could easily trap Another7Astronauts, they lay the music restfully – like a waiter placing a napkin across the legs on arrival at the restaurant table, almost unnoticed, yet somehow acutely observed. Again a brief interlude at just over two minutes.

Only Beautiful From Above marks the half-way mark and this delightfully scored piece introduces a significant use of voice which, although distinct, is subsumed in to the completeness of the work and the repetitive lyric and harmonies possess the feeling of looping inside the instruments. It is difficult to believe nearly seven minutes pass before the final notes are heard.

Locomotives is the next sound to slide out of the speakers and the appearance of repetitious key loops fused with African Rumba creates an involuntary body sway and again the collective layer the instruments throughout the track. Building to a significantly different atmosphere to the opening bars prior to rapidly decomposing before our very ears as the music fades in to the distance. The allusion of the construct of the track suits perfectly well the concept of the title. I like this.

Next up we have The Beginning Of A Fire and well, once again the opening delivers what it says on the tin – over-layed like a scratched and dusty vinyl the bellows of oxygen are provided by electronic loops as the additional players take hold until the tinder is no longer crackling but roaring in bright orange flames and you know what, Another7Astronauts have been able to set that image to music – great stuff.

So we head to the penultimate track – Autumn Colored Girl – a swirling landscape of sound is set free to roam the room as snatches of sound are blown away by another layer billowing in to the ears.

What I particularly enjoy about what the collective does is that they are able to take a huge gathering of musicians and let’s face it there are hamlets with fewer inhabitants, a mass of instruments that probably need a warehouse in which to store them and turn out some superbly muted music with first class composition and playing ability. What is even more impressive is that this array of bodies and objects gathered together and three days later the LP was completed. I talk to four piece bands that take a couple of weeks to lay down a four track  bass, vocal, guitar and drum EP. Here we have 15 musicians and nine tracks of immense complexity in three days. If I didn’t like the music I would be impressed with the capabilities.

The Golden Autumn And The Afternoon concludes with a very openly spaced Escape Boat. Interestingly this is the second release I have reviewed recently where I don’t think the final track does full justice to the preceding material.

The video is not a song on the album, but as I am only permitted to share the one track with you, I thought it may be interesting to take a visual of what Another7Astronauts is about and it gives a flavour of some of the moods in the LP.

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