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Astralfish

Far Corners

Review by G. W. Hill

Since both Don Falcone and Bridget Wishart are involved in this project, as they are in Spirits Burning, one might expect this to sound like that act. Certainly the space rock tendencies are here, but this is really quite a bit different. It’s got more of a jazz element on a lot of it, while some sections feel closer to symphonic or chamber music. Among the other musicians here is Daevid Allen, bringing a connection to Gong. This is a cool disc that’s really not like anything else out there.

Track by Track Review
Far

Atmospheric musical textures make up this cool instrumental. It’s pretty and mysterious.

Lil Utburd
There’s sort of a similar vibe to the previous track on the opening of this, but then it becomes more rhythmic and starts to rock out more, threatening to move into Hawkwind-like territory. The bass is pretty awesome as it swims around in the backdrop. There are some violin sounds and heavily processed, distant vocals on the tune. It turns more towards atmospheric tones after a while with a keyboard driven melody that takes it out.
Pepper Sky
There’s almost a horror movie sound to the music that opens this and as it continues to build it does feel rather creepy. After a time it turns almost jazz-like for a while. Then a real symphonic element is heard along with the other sounds as this evolves. It’s quite freeform and also very cool. 
Riding the Seasons
This number is quite classical in nature, early on. As it continues it resembles space rock flavored chamber music. At times it feels quite quirky. At other points it seems to follow pretty satisfying lines of musical reasoning. Later it takes on a motif that’s more like a symphonic progressive rock jam, rising up pretty far in volume and passion. A piano based section closes it.
Seven 8
Percussion and layers of non-lyrical vocals create a real world music sound to this piece.
Summer Snake
Space meets jazz on the early portions of this piece, at first just melodically, and then some rhythm joins as it builds out. It becomes more electronic after a time, but there is a definite organic texture in place. Harder sounds come in later as guitar and saxophone seem to fight for domination.
Song for a New Banana Day
There is definitely a sense of freeform chaos here as this piece combines electronic music, jazz and classical into a rather strange (but tasty) tapestry. The bass really steals a lot of the thunder on this one.
Pacifica
A slow moving piece, this has a lot of world music mixed with space rock, classical and other textures. As this develops the space elements turn a little noisy, but in a good way.
The Otter
This bouncy number feels a lot like world music. It’s quite percussive and intriguing. There is space onboard, but this really is a world music number.
Key Rings
Feeling very space oriented as waves of sound swirl around early on, this grows gradually at first. Then the rhythm section joins and this tune really powers out nicely. It’s among the most purely space rock numbers here and the bass really drives it. There’s still some fusion in the midst.
Seeds At Night in a Trickster's Yard
A dancing, driving bass line holds down the early parts of this while a melodic guitar soars overhead. Then it works out to more of a pounding kind of space rock for a while. It drops way down to a mellow, slow moving, keyboard laced sound from there.
Foray
Noisy, yet mellow, waves of space open this. The cut works out to a moving procession from there. It has a definite space meets fusion and RIO sound as it continues to reinvent itself. It drops to very open and sparse areas of space later and this has a very freeform aesthetic, yet still seems to flow in a logical way.
Cloud Gather
After a brief section that’s quite sedate and rather freeform, this powers out to the hardest rocking space jam of the whole set. Guitar screams over the top and keyboards join at points. This thing really pounds away, working through a couple different timings as it continues. It works back out to similar sedate territory to end.
A Short Thaw
The bass figures prominently in this arrangement, one which combines space rock and jazz nicely. Although short, it’s dramatic and powerful.
Treepers
There’s an almost symphonic nature to the waves of electronic meets jazz and space sounds that make up this cut.
Near
The space rock sounds dominate this one with violin and keyboards creating the majority of the melody and majesty. It works through pretty organically and in a satisfying way.
 
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