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- A Shimmering Replica by Ashtray Navigations
9/10 Jim Staff review, 22 July 2015
Ash Nav’s psychoactive stream of cosmic consciousness flows unabated, hitting a sun-scorched plateau of ecstatic intensity that’s rare by even their standards for this latest LP on VHF. The record bristles into being with the phaser-fuzzed smears and ruminating electronic pulsations of ‘Cold Lemon Door & Side Table’ and ‘Miss Goldenrod 1977’ before laying back for the blissed synth atmospherics and skewed harmonizing guitar architectonics of ‘Lord Motor’.
Their sound is dense and strange; forever pushing familiar formal patterns out of their comfort zone into ever more alien shapes. The subterranean murk of Phil Todd’s early cassette recordings seems like a distant dream compared to the vivid, almost exotic textures on this recording. Still, the duo give themselves plenty of time and space to take the sounds down into some deeply subliminal tracts; conjuring a shadow-play of ectoplasmic feedback overtones from juddering snares, drones and B-movie organ in ‘Seventies Concorde Proboscis’ for instance, or the sickening dark synth churns of ‘A Dustprint’, like one of those nostalgia drenched Boards Of Canada ditties gone awfully bad. There are even expansive groovers like ‘Quite Village’ –their feverish, red-eyed ode to Les Baxter, or the swagger and stomp of ‘Fog Bottle Morning’–like Royal Trux at their most hallucinatory.
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