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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Stratus - As The Crow Flies

Pye Audio Corner make up half Stratus so you know it's probably going to be good. There's some real instruments thrown into the mix with the synths. The words folk and psychedelic are mentioned and that's fair enough. Perhaps if the last Belbury Poly LP went a bit Stereolab.

The psychedelic stuff is quite restrained and pleasant. Controls being set for the heart of the living room with a nice cup of tea rather than the centre of the sun.

I can't quite place what other bands this reminds me of. A good thing I suppose. Occasionally it sounds like old film music but not quite to the point of being library music. The fuzzy guitar bits sometimes sound like the really mellow bits on a total funk OST.

Their owns words seem to explain things quite well:-

Stratus are Mat Anthony and Martin Jenkins, two English gents whose love for warped soundtracks, fuzzed-out psychedelia and analog aesthetics is distilled in the bittersweet harmonies and wistful bliss of their songs, taking in everything from sublime pastoral electronics through to string-laden cosmic rock.

Their long-awaited second album 'As the Crow Flies' is the follow-up to their acclaimed debut 'Fear of Magnetism' (which spawned the epic single 'Uplink') and was recorded over the past few years with both parties taking time out along the way - Mat producing psych edits and surf noir for Vintage Rockers and Martin making solo releases for Joakim’s Tigersushi label and the haunting synthesizer transcripts of the Black Mill Tapes trilogy as Pye Corner Audio.

A fascination for French cinematic composers of the 60s and 70s such as Francois de Roubaix and Jean-Claude Vannier was fuelled after remixing Serge Gainsbourg in their early days as a production duo and these influences weigh heavy in lush orchestral arrangements, stripped psych rock rhythms, enigmatic synths and music-box melodies. Fragments of guitar and piano combine with celestial strings while occasional vocals swirl through with pedal steel, driving brass and organ drones drenched in worn spring reverb. As the Crow Flies offers a glimpse into hidden places at the edge of memory... an unhurried, bittersweet soundtrack that revels in elegant disrepair and bucolic delight.

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