July has been a busy month for Astral Social Club. A few live dates and a couple of releases. Along with the "Scudding" CDr (on Neil Campbell's own imprint Astral Social Club label) comes the split 12" on Tipped Bowler Tapes.
Tipped Bowler Tapes is a new name to me, and so is the artist with which the 12" is split; Tomutontuu. Research reveals that he is a Finnish artist with releases out on Ultra Eczema and Beta-Lactam Ring. Both artists share a side a piece with Astral Social Club kicking off with "Wet Wheel/Hot Wheel". The piece starts off Duchampian with the sound of a spinning (squeaky) bicycle wheel. Sequencers assemble themselves at dawn and the sound is very akin to Section 25's "Sakura"....A sequencer pattern kicks in and the track takes off. The sound is repetitive, the head makes independent movement from the neck and shoulders, it's cracking stuff. "Klubba Cupol" by Cupol, The Hafler Trio "Bootleg" 12" and "Three Mantras" are evoked, but the sound is more high energy. Sounds and squibbles move around the patterns and they in turn build to what sounds like an orchestrated cacophony of layer upon layer of 70's & 80's disco tracks. (Hot Wheels Of Steel)? It is a lovely track, one I imagine was recorded live in the studio.
From what I understand Tomutontuu remixed the sounds of Astral Social Club for his piece "Syvat Savyt". But Tom has no groove, the track is an unlistenable abstract muddle of "spaced out" sounds. A huge disappointment and I found it very difficult to play all the way through, after about three or so minutes I was thinking "I could be doing better things than listening to this". A shame.
The sleeve's a bit pants, side 2 is unlistenable...but I still recommend the 12", it's a lovely purple vinyl and the Astral Social Club is worth the pennies alone.
Astral Social Club & Preslav Literary School play a festival in Bourn, Cambridgeshire next month, I am looking forward to seeing both loud and live.