ASHS – Audible Stellar Hypnotic Situations (CD)

ASHS has been working on these tracks for three years. The disc’s first track is “Kleen”, and from the beginning, it sounds like the space before the action in a sci-fi movie. Particularly, the music creates a vision for me similar to the opening scene in a sci-fi move, when a crew is on space station before the negative auction happens. The band seems to have a traditional sense of arrangements, in that different elements are added every few seconds, rather than disparate elements being strewn about all willy-nilly.

What is not orderly are the quotes strewn through “Kleen”. The tempo of this track speeds up to create something that reminds me of the electronic movement of the middle nineties. There is a funkiness present to the track that belies the electronic sound of the track; ASHS is definitely trying to do something that has not been done before with this album. “Corpus Raton” has the same blend of styles as “Kleen”, and like its immediate predecessor it uses a number of quotes to give it a vocal presence. However, it is not the vocals that really make ASHS, but rather the compelling instrumentation on each track on the disc that does. There is a musical journey that individuals are taken on for each track, and while each track has something in common with the other songs on the disc, these songs are very different from one another. “Nova” uses a vocal line that reminds one of backmasking a track. The use of this vocal sound shows yet again that the band is willing to change new things while still going back to their “typical” sound.

There is a distinct tropical influence during “Nova” that keeps individuals listening in, and by the time that the track ends, it feels as if the band has scored yet another hit. The songs will never be on the top of the Billboard charts, but for atmospheric and somewhat chill electronic music, ASHS is the act that one should look. The disparate elements are all subjugated by the band into one cohesive stream; listeners will easily be able to pick up the songs at any point during the disc or in the tracks themselves. Perhaps the most interesting track on the disc to be “Lost”, as there seems to even be hints of “Kid A”-era Radiohead present in ASHS’s output here. The band makes a full album that will be perfect for those times when the party is chill and people are talking. The tracks on this album are fresh and new, and will undoubtedly be for a long period of time.

Top Tracks: Lost, Act Fact

Rating: 6.1/10

ASHS – Audible Stellar Hypnotic Situations / 8 Tracks / http://www.ashs.us / Reviewed 06 June 2007

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