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Review: 'of1000faces'
'Astronomica (Album)'   

-  Label: 'Bandcamp'
-  Genre: 'Ambient' -  Release Date: '25.9.20.'

Our Rating:
Of1000Faces is the solo project of Matt Walker who you may know from his time playing and touring with among others Smashing Pumpkins, Morrisey and Filter among. This however is a different kettle of fish being an album of music to float in space too. The bands name is borrowed and a tribute to Joseph Campbells Hero of A 1000 Faces a book that was also an inspiration behind the Star Wars films.

It's time to lay back in your hammock or swing seat or any other seat you may have that can make you feel as if you are floating in space and allow Of1000Faces to take you on a journey that strangely begins at what I would have thought was the closing piece Below The Brine a stately graceful piece of neo-classical chillout synth and strings to sooth re-entry and splashdown.

Astronomica then shoots you into space and aids your journey with gently pulsing space age synths and washes of sound like the calmest of Bo Hansson tunes.

As your spacecraft starts to orbit earth O Little Earth comes on and lasts about as long as it takes for one orbit at the speed your travelling at and you marvel at the things you can pick out below, as the gentle pulsing sounds and bongos work nicely against a gently caressing organ.
Cosmic Memories isn't quite as tonal as Sun Ra's Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy and is a lot less challenging too, as you will leave your memories of earth behind as you travel at a serene pace into outer space.

With The Tide seems to be harnessing the feel of the Yellow Magic Orchestra to an almost becalmed sea in the midst of the doldrums as you wait for the breeze to pick up.

Trees Sway Metallic is sadly not as great as the title suggests, but still feels like some gently swaying tree noises have been recorded and manipulated in a similar way to either Low Bias or Gagarin's output and eventually some very gently Gamelan style percussion comes in.

Origami Ocean is the perfect amount of time to take a piece of paper and artfully fold it into the perfect ship to float along with this very sparse pulsing wash of sound. If you need inspiration for your origami experiment search on Youtube for those old late 60's British TV Origami shows to instruct you with your happy folding.

The Blue Hour is the perfect time to go all Yves Klein Anthropometry to this gentle piano led piece, I'm sure as you cover yourself in Blue paint and then gently press down on the canvas this tune will help you centre yourself and make a gorgeous pattern. Although I do recommend gender reversal for the direction and painting roles in this exercise, as the original process is now slightly problematic, unlike this spectral tune.

Not surprisingly Laos brings back the gamelan elements to the percussion with the addition of what sounds like the processed sounds of a 1000 soldiers being drilled as you gaze a 1000 miles or more into the distance.

Zephyr opens by sounding like he is trying to recreate the sounds an old Ford Zephyr made when being started in the cold and then just polished that sound down into a gentle pulse like you are gliding over the vinyl bench seat ready to pull away at a glacial pace.

Skye Song has fluttering sounds like somewhere out in deep space you've spotted some birds flying about or are they alien spaceships, well you come in peace as this album is the least aggressive piece of music I've heard in a while, as you dream of being in the Isle Of Skye instead of floating in space.

The album ends with a short tour of the Nachtgarten that has some long notes and tones with some nice noises layered over as if you can hear the animals coming out to play late at night as you gently drift off to sleep at the end of one of the most relaxing albums you'll hear this year.

In a prefect world this album would performed live in a Planetarium to allow the perfect visuals for the journey.

Find out more at https://of1000faces.bandcamp.com/album/astronomica https://www.facebook.com/of1000facesofficial
  author: simonovitch

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