Review: This short lived but seminal Dutch band that formed in the mid-eighties only recorded one album of cosmic and ambient excursions on an independent cassette release in 1986. The first re-issue came out ten years later on Container (Staalplaat) and now; twenty years on we finally have the second re-issue on a remastered double LP. Chi also reformed recently for a comeback concert at London's Cafe OTO too, This wonderful time capsule will appeal fans of obscure prog rock as it would to seekers of oddball Balearica who flock to labels such as Finders Keepers/Cache Cache or even Claremont 56. Props to Astral Industries for this one!
Review: "Immersions" follows Rod Modell's 2016 Deepchord interpretation of Peter Michael Hamel's work on Astral Industries - and sees the storied producer retreat to more familiar territory. "Immersion II" is an uptempo but nonetheless decidedly esoteric affair, with the typical Deepchord attention to spacey filters and fragile melodic twists. On the first "Immersion", Modell veers towards the deep, Detroit techno of Carl Craig thanks to the arrangement's evocative melodies and atmospheric sensibility. Despite this, it still bears Modell's unique sensibility and the cavernous sub-bass and jaunty rhythm will appeal to anyone who has ever been seduced by Deepchord's immersive dub style.
Review: Amongst ambient aficionados, obscure 1980s outfit The Chi Factory - a collaboration between Jacobus Derwort and Hanyo van Oosterom - has a cult following. While the duo went their separate ways in 1987, Derwort continued to work on tracks, which fused field recordings taken in far-flung locations around the world, with indigenous instrumentation and his innate ability to craft mood-altering soundscapes. The Bamboo Recordings offers the first chance to savour those previously unheard mid-to-late-80s tracks; while they've been remixed for release, they remain as trippy, inspired and intoxicating as you'd expect. Akin to a humid saunter through thick Mangrove swamps, the album feels like a long lost, tropical partner to The KLF's Chill Out.
Review: Last year, Astral Industries released The Bamboo Recordings, a sublime, non-stop ambient voyage from obscure Dutch outfit The Chi Factory based around recordings Hanyo van Oosterom made while living in a cave on the Greek island of Palmos in the early 1980s. This follow-up contains sounds, textures and musical elements recording during the same period, which van Oosterom has been tinkering with, on and off, since the early '90s. Like its predecessor, The Kallikatsou Recordings - named in tribute to the "sacred mountain" the producer lived beneath on Palmos - joins the dots between Eno style ambience, Stockhausen style sound collage, the sample-heavy brilliance of The KLF's Chill Out, the humidity of Finis Africae, and contemporary drone productions. If anything, it's even better than The Bamboo Recordings.
Review: Two epic ambient journeys from an underrated hero of the underground. Hanyo van Oosterom is a musician and promoter from Rotterdam. He was part of Chi (1984 - 1987), Byzantium (1997 - 1998) and One Cent People since 2002. He has never met Rod Modell (Deepchord) in person, but they have met through music. Story has it that Modell is said to have found an obscure cassette of Chi music and sent it to Astral Industries - which paved the way for the release of 'The Original Recordings' in 2016. Since then, they have exchanged ideas and music. Van Oosterom sent Modell a preview of 'The Kallikatsou Recordings' which he liked it and inspired the idea for a remix of 'Lanterns'. He sent the first sketches to him, but they ended up in the wrong inbox. Months later he responded, apparently saying he loved them so much that they needed to be released. Van Oosterom is said to have used lo-fi approach on these tracks: manipulating the samples, time-stretching, tempo and pitch-shifting, mixing different layers and using effects in addition to field recordings, voices and samples from his early cassettes.
Review: Way back in 1996, Rod Modell (he of Deepchord and Echospace fame) joined forces with Chris Troy as Waveform Transmission. They released one, CD-only album, V1.0-1.9, before going their separate ways. 21 years on, they've reunited for this superb follow-up on Astral Industries. While there are naturally plenty of nods towards Modell's usual densely layered, ultra-textured sound - think manipulated field recordings and lashings of outboard analogue effects - for the most part the set is far dreamier and more melodically precise than his ambient works; a testament, perhaps, to Troy's influence. Either way, the resultant tracks are, for the most part, breathtakingly good, sitting somewhere between gently drifting aural meditations and Pete Namlook style deep space soundscapes.