Astrosaur will change the way in which we think about music for decades to come. They have broken loose and greased the door that the Jaga Jazzist–generation opened.
Instrumental music is always telling a text. The oldest literary motifs in arts, either it is audio, video, words or all at once in a film, is the journey. To travel is the goal, and the goal is realization. But the journey must have progression, change, it must be progressive.
As soon as this vinyl platter starts turning, it is apparent that Astrosaur is into progressive metal. The trio gives us a lesson in progression in music.
Astrosaur plays hide and seek with the listener. The past few years have given us a number of drum and guitar duos who deliver surprising amounts of bass. When it comes to Astrosaur, they surprise us with how extremely much guitar an age old Rickenbacher bass can deliver.
Lineup: Eirik Kråkenes (guitar)
Steinar Glas (bass)
Jonatan Eikum (drums)
Origin: Bærum/Follo, Greater Oslo (Map)
New album: Fade In // Space Out
Record company: Bad Vibes
Distribution: Bandcamp (download and record sales), Phonofile (streaming)
Genre: Instrumental Rock, Progressive Metal,
Doom Metal, Jazz Rock, Jazz Metal, Fusion, Prog Rock
Home page: (see Facebook)
Road Movies From Space
Of course bassist Steinar Glas utilizes a veritable farm of effect pedals. Guitarist Eirik Kråkenes is a bit in opposition in that regard, and jumps in to demonstrate to us where bass ends and guitar begins. Frank Zappa asked the question, Astrosaur is the answer, humour does belong in music.
On “Space Mountain” the doom genre enters with more explosive force than limitations. The single track “Yugen” has its mature jazz rock sides, and solid nods tributing Terje Rypdal on his heaviest.
On Side B of the vinyl Astrosaur brings us to the jazz rock side to prog. “Fishing For Kraken” has more of the Rypdalesque punch, but also the new age kind of fusion associated with i.e. ex-Police Andy Summers’ solo projects.
The concluding title track is the longest one of the album. The start is very slow, with a countryesque, sort of rustic crispiness. As the merger of country and blues jazz goes lagging to merely sluggish, it is apparent Astrosaur has decoded the soundscaping of the very Bill Frisell and made it into its own; Chills!
From that point, it carries only one way: Back via doom jazz to progressive metal into the final fireworks. We just have to admit we are witnesses to something huge happening.
Astrosaur displays a clear and instant identity while at the same time shows a wide range within its modest lineup. It's the space version of Cloroform's horror movie music. It's Jaga Jazztronaut. It's retro and it's futuristic — not "Miles Ahead", but light years.
The album with its five tracks is a vinyl recording. The first two songs on either side play continuously. Side A has 22 minutes play, side B 23 minutes; Now, where can I find an empty old C90 chromium dioxide recording cassette...
On the downloads and streaming, you miss out on the continuous play. Let's just say the digital music experience will be somewhat amputated. After getting used to the digital single “Yugen” on Tidal HiFi through a good digital/analogue converter, it is surprising how much more of the song there is to be heard on the vinyl. I hope it’s not simply a mastering error. All in all, I have one and one ear, not 1 and 0.