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Astral Social Club

Astral Social Club

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Album Review

Besides his day gig in the long-running space-folk ensemble Vibracathedral Orchestra, Neil Campbell has spent several years releasing homemade solo albums in limited-edition CD-R runs under the name Astral Social Club. This self-titled CD is taken from those out of print discs, with 11 nameless tracks pulled from out of context and reshaped into a 66-minute single flowing piece, like the world's most obscure DJ mix. The tracks aren't entirely beatless, but in their layers of space rock keyboards, chattering percussion and various unidentifiable drones, they're not exactly dancefloor material. Actually, despite the calmer, mellow drifts of the last couple of tracks, Astral Social Club isn't for the chillout room either, unless a perverse DJ wanted to put the entire crowd onto a collective bad trip with the unnerving pulsations and grinding, glitchy noise that builds to a crescendo in the album's first third. Those expecting more of the Vibracathedral Orchestra's blend of acoustic folk instrumentation and lysergic grooves may be somewhat put off, but for anyone in a receptive frame of mind, Astral Social Club has a certain chilly charm.

Astral Social Club, Astral Social Club
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