Astralia is a three-piece band from Barcelona, Spain. Their first full-length album, Atlas, was released in the spring of 2014 and a year later has been re-released in three special vinyl editions making it a perfect occasion to revisit the pleasures of this outstanding record which, in hindsight, would have been deserving of a place among my top post rock picks of last year.
Everything about Atlas exudes organic beauty – the graphic art, the song titles, and the sonic vistas which rely almost solely on outstanding musicianship and mastery of analog dynamics. The trio format leaves nowhere for any instrument to hide, but that plays to the strengths of this talented group.
Albert Clemente’s bass has the gravitas to drive the songs forward, but also adds a snaky growl or rich high notes as needed to color and fill the spaces. Jordi Guzmán works the drums with dexterous aplomb adding ample fills, crushes, ghost notes, and cymbal accents that add musicality as well as rhythm. This frees Roger Guzmán to cover a wide range on his guitar from delicate atmospherics to crunching riffs.
Particular highlights include the opening track, ‘You Are Here’ which the band set to an inspiring video that embodies the album’s themes, the sprawling ‘Io’, the subaqueous mental imagery of ‘Oceanic’, and the tranquil closing track ‘Sans Soleil’ which has a dreamy, expansive ambient feel that is reminiscent of Hammock at their best.
Atlas remains available in a choice of CD and digital formats on the Astralia Bandcamp, but vinyl collectors will not want to miss the beautiful spring 2015 reissues. At this writing the black & white edition is sold out, but copies remain of the blue/white/black from Aloud Music and the special blue/clear dunk! edition (pictured). Information for all of the above is available at link directly below.
Info and Ordering: https://astralia.bandcamp.com/album/atlas
Listen to ‘Sans Soleil’
Official Video for ‘You Are Here’
(inspired by Carl Sagan’s prologue to Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)