Feb 2021 04

Album Coverof1000faces
Album: Astronomica
Category: Ambient / Shoegaze / Dream Pop
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2020-09-25


Matt Walker has built up quite a resume as a capable drummer and producer; when he’s not busy performing with the likes of Filter, The Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, or Morrissey, he continually writes and records material for his of1000faces solo project, with Astronomica being the first in his new Monomyyth trilogy. Anybody expecting some form of industrialized alt. rock akin to the many bands Walker has been associated with will likely be taken aback by the tranquility of this album, as Walker and a small contingent of collaborators transport the listener through otherworldly soundscapes as suited to the cosmic expanses as to dreamy introspection.

Astronomica is wrought with pulsating swells of synthesized tonal intrigue, each measure like the inhalation of a foreign atmosphere whose purity is almost disconcerting – the trepidation fades, a slow exhale, and all that is left is the serenity of an aural quest with unknown destination. For instance, on “A Blue Hour,” resonant pianos waver and echo like an aquatic fever dream true to its title, the occasional howls of what could be guitar sustain or feedback adding both a sense of tension, as if unseen perils lurk in the dark corners of one’s peripheral vision, and a soothing wistfulness as one drift’s into the sonic ether. The same can be said of “Zephyr” as the electronic pulses and melodic piano arpeggios make for a lush backdrop like the feeling of silk grazing one’s face, the shimmering oscillations like the radiance of the sun’s rays peeking through the cloudy synthesizers. Songs like “With the Tide” and especially “Laos” introduced percolating chimes and rhythmic bell-like tones that evoke a somewhat ethnic atmosphere, while others like “Trees Sway Metallica” and the title track convey uplifting sequences that in lieu of a melody create an ambient flavor that recalls the sense of awe and saccharine wonder of Vangelis’ score for Blade Runner. Similarly, the wax and wane of Greg Suran’s distorted sustained guitar on “Skye Song” amid the trickling rhythms somehow reminds this writer of something Peter Gabriel might’ve conjured up for one of his movie scores, but lest you float too far into infinity, the faint rhythms and accordion-like swells of “O Little Earth” instill a sense of reverie, longing for the halcyon days of home.

It’s actually quite wonderful to hear this facet of Matt Walker’s musical personality; although free from the bombast of rock & roll, each track on Astronomica moves with a certain briskness that tends to be lacking in most music of this style, ensuring that the album never overstays its welcome. Reaching for the stars, yet still anchored to the Earth, one wonders with great anticipation where the next entry in the Monomyyth trilogy will take us.
Track list:

  1. Below the Brine
  2. Astronomica
  3. O Little Earth
  4. Cosmic Memories
  5. Trees Sway Metallic
  6. With the Tide
  7. Origami Ocean
  8. Laos
  9. The Blue Hour
  10. Zephyr
  11. Skye Song
  12. Nachtgarten

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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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