title: Astral Data Tape
format: Cassette (limited edition) / digital
keywords: ambient, coldwave, cyberpunk, ebm, electro, electronic, gloomwave, hard beat, industrial, minimal, new beat, post-punk, witch-wave, withchouse
label X.O.S. Musick http://xosrecords.bandcamp.com
X.O.S. Musick has been doing some very hard work in collecting music from various places around the globe, to fit within a certain quality and style and all together on a cassette. The result is an up to the second full collection of tracks that I would like to discuss below track for track without further hesitation.
The first encounter on this compilation is a track made by Ars Sonar & M.Nomized. They give the listener some time to adjust their mood into one that fits the atmosphere of looking into a glass bowl of a blackened future. It’s a work done in a dark electronic shape that comes across to me as retro-futurism that fully gets itself started when a electric beat kicks in to carry the heavy mood that the track is so rich off. They have not been staring at the near future but actually converted their ‘thought of afterlife’ into a prominent dark mood of electronic music.
The GuruGuru complex comes with a more futuristic tune named Bluebeam (high speed edit). One that proofs that The GuruGuru Complex knows exactly which buttons to press to create an electro track that comes across as effectively minimal and yet so full. It’s a great example of how phat producer’s skills can take a listener on a dance trip without fully acknowledging how great the track is. You can hear that it’s done with great care and the right elements all settled down in their own places. the track generates a natural flow of electric moments that might hypnotize its listeners in a way that the mind becomes a blur of electro bliss.
Laundry League comes with a tune named ‘Anna’. Which is a warm track of synthesizer electronica-beauty that you can feel like a ‘cloud of love’ filling up the sound waves. A relaxed but tight whip sounding beat is the one that brings the melodic space form of love music that features female vocals that sound dreamy and hazy.
A great fit for the pretty dream state that is generated by ‘Anna’ is the Cyborgs On Crack remix of Material Action’s ‘Television’. It has a relaxed but yet very emotional vibe over it; making it fit with raindrops that are collected on a window that slowly find their way down. Music wise it is strong; the melody is one that goes in the head and stays in the head and comes across to me as something ‘the Cure’ could have written when they created the ‘into the trees’ classic. Material Action sound more drowsy and sentimental which has for a large part credits to the very fitting vocals and its textual content. The sky might be crying, but we emotional human beings might love to swallowed up in a tune like this. Very strong and yet so fragile.
Work Buy Consume Die’ by ‘Mind Teardown’ is more hands on, with mechanical balls of steel to roll on. This is electro punk featuring fat synthesizers and irresistible nasty baselines in great combination of a militant beat that feeds the Heath for humans and cyborgs dancing together. Even though the tune would do great in a cyber goth industrial club, the music is surprisingly happy and uplifting; which might make someone’s tormented face crack in to a unexpected smile.
Vandalaze (an artist name I admire as it sounds posh like a suede suit and a velvet top-hat) is luckily also on board of this excellent electro compilation. The tune that is featured over here is ‘Video Void’ and is one of these tracks that should be played out loud for dancing purposes. The overall sound is flirting with the underground alternative electro sound from the eighties while at the same time catering the up to date crowds of the iPhone generation of 2014. The track ‘video void’ is a strong one, with its solid rhythm, machine gun baseline and retrospective form of futurism. The mechanical sounding voice is oiled enough to keep the video void spinning.
Skvmb’s Death Reflections brings on the hammering vibe of popless pounding electro punk. There is no love here, just mashing up the place with a rhythm that makes Death herself swing her booty. The great noises that flushes around gives a feeling as if the beat sets dancers on fire; and in this case the flames of hell sound like a pleasant mass rave.
Insanity shower by ‘Leitmotive Rainbow’ is taking a even darker approach than the former heard track, but it is one that feeds the mind a certain energy that would do well in a rage of hate. Play this loud in your office job and it’s obvious that you are pissed off and would like to punch the other employees or bosses from higher up. No words are necessary to feel the frustration and anger displayed in this track of rhythmic darkness. Excellent burst of evil!
Zex Model sounds strangely German. I don’t know the origin of this project/artist but I can assure you that this would do fine among the cyber goths occupying the underground catacombs of Berlin. Evil vocals, howling synthesizer work and a sinful atmosphere that is strangely erotic. The vampire society of London would roar in agreement while they drink a wine glass of fresh blood: this is some of the darkest quality industrial synthpop things out there.
Filth Pro’s Discipline (electro body mix) is a reasonable short track that provides the legendary ebm beat and features an angry sounding vocalist that recalls images of guys and girls in black mascara and fishnet shirts.
Nature’s Trick (demo) by ‘True’ is the music you could imagine to hear in the castle of Dracula when the master prepares himself with a face-mask to go for a relaxing beauty sleep in his coffin. The night had been good, lots of virgin blood had entered his body and a calm rainfall could be heard outside. Good night’ mister Dracula, sleep tight.
Now that Dracula had gone to sleep it is time for us mortals to go back up again with some more lighter electropop. Not that ‘I Shook Hands’ tune is not dark, but compared to the heavy ones gone before it is like a glowing sparkle with a high blue colored mood that fits the title well (someday I’ll be gone (Pulse D.K. Edit)). It has the beat, the pop melody and some strong lyrics that wouldn’t be out of place to make like-minded people dance until oblivion. The ending is more experimental, vaporizing the alternative pop structure until the complete track will be gone..
A great transition for a tune by ‘Witches Under Frisco’ that starts with a uprising nasty synth exposure that provides a mysterious atmosphere. Personally I think of possessed killer bees that zoom around like higher orchestrated zombies filling up the night sky with intensive and intriguing sound composition.
The Larry Weirdo’s are here to spice up this compilation with some funky beats that are hard to resist. The laser like accentuations and the bright snarling synth ambience that fly all over it gives the track a feeling of being like an groovy airplane that successfully makes it’s listeners fly! The beats are getting fatter and cooler and my legs are like the ones of a tap-dancer tip toeing around on wickedness.
One really cool track is this one by Mascara. It is called ‘caged flowers (for Ray Radbury)’ which features a more minimal approach perhaps but because of the use of distortion and fuzzy vocal it really is one that kicks ass. When the tune changes it’s like a live Deejay mixes some magic and throws in some surprises.
Cyborgs on Crack [feat. Sputñik] did a really great job in creating a lovable electropop track named ‘Dry Mouth (Milanovic go home mix)’. It has the perfect structure and the melody. The vocals are very in balance in mood and atmosphere. It sound very honest and open, no hiding behind of masks of coolness here; but real direct and honorable. A rare find that should be cherished!
01b’s Alien Race’ comes across more classic, more retro and old school. A thing that would be loved by fans of body dance music with a robotic space age theme. The pop beat and sounds used really gives flashbacks to a time of pioneers but now updated to prevail and rule in the future. The added acid lines lift the production up to a killer that would be loved by early techno heads and underground club kids. (And possibly aliens from another planet)
A great fitting track that takes over is done by ‘Strictures’ which provides an excellent groove done by a great mix and match of ecstatic beat and a freaky layer of baseline. It’s a track that will make you dance even if you are the person that would normally announce at party’s that you ‘do not dance’. The name of the tune is ‘Sink’ which in my view probably means that there is no escape than sinking in this perfect dance track and get your body moving.
Illumination [ feat. berglind Agustdottir] by ‘Fauxmusica’ is the freakiest experimental track on this compilation. It isn’t perhaps inserted to make you dance but more to have a moment to blow your mind. The vocal and rare sound speaks of true originality and together they are not awkward but more a showcase of cheer brilliance. A pleasurable mindfuck everyone deserves!
Talking about positive experiences, the track by Alex Spalding named ‘Suicide’ is strangely a smooth one. It’s as if the concept of suicide is thought of in a single second and then laid off as life just will end it all by itself one day. No need to DIY in the suicide case, as listening to these smooth healing tones are simply something you don’t want to miss out on.
Sleep Chamber’s Only an Angel (astral data version) is a shimmering and shivering dream-state kind of track. A minimal skipping heartbeat of a beat meets a minimal melodic impression that accents the whispering vocals. This track might induce the listener into a faithful sleep to only be awakened in a slight nightmarish soundscape provided by quality sound experimentalist mutan.T.R.I. ‘s track named ‘Alex’.
It is unlike anything else you could hear on this compilation and lives like a abstract form of data defamation to announce the end of this most daring Astral Tape compilation.
Astral Tape is a fully booked cassette with lots of excellent music, which mostly rely on heavy beats and use of synthesizers. The all-round theme might be a bit dark, sometimes even turning slightly evil, but there are also beautiful lighter tunes to enjoy. From catchy electro pop, to cyber goth friendly industrial to moments that blow your mind. You can get the compilation on a tape cassette or as digital download from the X.O.S. Label at the following link: