ARTIST: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
RELEASE: Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II
RELEASE DATE: 7th January 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Shoegazer Sanctuary Records
I’m not really one for reviewing compilations. I’ve always found that they’re either full of the same old, same old bands & featured artists or it’s just another blog, webzine or net label trying their luck by forcing me into another click bait exercise. It’s all a very disappointing & mundane exercise to be honest. But I sat back and watched as the Connecticut based net label ‘Shoegazer Sanctuary Records’ release their debut compilation ‘Gazing Into Andromeda Volume I’ in July of last year and I was mesmerised at how they selected the list of artists for the release. They didn’t add the usual heavy hitters from the underground psych/gaze/ethereal/ambient scene just to get Facebook likes or numbers across a blog. They didn’t annoyingly force the release into my inbox either by harassing or tagging me in their social media posts. They purposefully & honestly decided on each artist by their sonic individuality (and not by their social standing) and that’s the reason why I’m reviewing this compilation release today. ‘Gazing Into Andromeda Volume II’ features 20 artists from the world wide space rock, shoegaze, psych-gaze & ambient electronica scene that you may or may not have ever heard of before, and that really shouldn’t matter. What you can bet your bottom dollar on is that every single track on this release will blow your socks off. As usual the label have put this out as a ‘Name Your Price’ tariff up on their bandcamp page: shoegazersanctuaryrecords.bandcamp.com
This massive compendium of sound opens up with Italian giants ‘Clustersun’ and a track taken from their amazing 2014 release ‘Out Of Your Ego’. The chosen track is ‘Clustersun’ and it shimmers in a beautifully translucent psych-gaze haze filled with melodic drones and fizzy sonic sequences. Up next, Melbourne natives ‘Fire To The Stars’ bring magical synth swells, swirling vocalisations and droning reverberation to the fore as ‘Keep You Safe’ taken from their 2016 release ‘Made Of Fire’ is brought to bare. Connecticut based ‘Omega Vague’ unleashes a huge sonic behemoth next, in the form of ‘From The Outside’, lifted off last years triumphant full release ‘Obsolescent’ whilst Canadian based ‘Slowly’ ushers in tremulous instrumentation and gloriously addictive shimmering tones as the melancholically atmospheric ‘Melt’ does exactly as it says on the tin. Utterly delectable and a beautifully crafted piece of music.
It’s off to Malaysia next as we’re graced with beautiful waves of reverb laden guitars and ethereal vocalisations courtesy of the track ‘Past’, lifted off SOFT’s majestic 2013 release ‘A Warm Romanticism In A Coldwave Room’. Sit back as this track explodes into the ether, swirling into beautiful, cascading frequencies as it burns out. Up next is the California based Ryan Fields aka ‘Project Skywards’ and a track called ‘No More Lies’ originally released back in 2006 on his immense 4 track EP entitled ‘Sirius’. ‘Project Skywards’ blend ambient electronica and experimental space rock with magnificent results. Definitely worthy of your ears. The next five track blend seamlessly. The hazily hypnotic space rock sounds of ‘The Quality Of Mercury’ swirl into the ether as ‘Her Eyes Are The Stars’ explodes into earshot whilst Sweden’s own shoegaze wonders ‘Zeit’ bring the noise with their 2013 release ‘Silvery Nights’. Then it’s up to Atlanta based ‘Absence Of Ocean’ to bring their majestic blend of experimental post-gaze into the mix as ‘We Don’t Sleep’ spins into earshot on a cloud of swirling reverb & quivering atmospherics. Up next, impressive Californian doom gazers ‘Sleep White Winter’ bring a heavy darkness to proceedings with two tracks. Firstly ‘Philo Sophia’ gets a spin, lifted off their latest six track release ‘Degeneracy of Nostalgia’ followed by 2014’s ‘A Succession of Unrecognizable Emotions’ lifted off their self titled full length album.
Half way through and the immense tracks keep coming. One of our favourite UK based bands of the past few years ‘The Virgance’ aka Nathan Smith injects his fuzzy brand of experimental psych into proceedings with the incredibly intense ‘Saturnine’, lifted off his immense 2015 release ‘Paradigm 3’ whilst up next we’re whisked off into a dreamlike electro-gaze state as Vitaly Bogachev aka ‘Talhayme’ unleashes ‘Real Me’ lifted off his 2016 release ‘Telesanctuar’. Up next are a band who tweaked my attention back in 2014. Melbourne based ‘The Lost Jackets’ released a five track EP back then entitled ‘The Airports Of The World All Look The Same’ and I instantly fell in love with it. Here they are represented by the brooding track ‘Sirens’, lifted off their 2016 release ‘Don’t Turn Your Back On The Sea’. Well worth your time! Argentina based ‘Ison Spectra’ swirls effortlessly into earshot with their experimental space-gaze release ‘Oceano’ whilst Brazilian based Roberta Artiolli and Bruno Romani aka ‘S.E.T.I’ reinvigorate the senses with the beautifully dreamy synth laden ‘Sinta-se, Perca-se’, taken from their latest full length album ‘Extase’ released back in 2015. Santiago, Chile is our next port of call as delicious dream gazers ‘Perfectos Extraños’ float into earshot on a swirling frequential drone and instrumental atmospherics. The track represented here, entitled ‘Shanghái’ is filled with warm, summery eastern flair.
Québec based ‘The City Gates’ have been wowing the underground fraternity over the past year or so with their brand of no nonsense gaze induced soundscapes. The brilliant ‘Maddening Ride’ is taken from their highly anticipated forthcoming sophomore release penned in for sometime in 2017. Recommended listening if you ask me. Up next, Berlin based shoegazers ‘Downhill Willows’ unleash the brilliant track ‘Machines’, lifted off their self titled debut album, released back in 2016. Special mention here has to go to the immense vocalisations of Kenneth Estrada. Check them out. The spiralling dark-wave sounds peppered with subtle psych-gaze highlights of North Carolina based ‘Spirit System’ (another band that we’ve reviewed here at Primal) effortlessly swerve into audible range with their track ‘Nest’ lifted off their immense album ‘Nightfalling’ whilst the brilliant London based ‘Doldrums’ have added their epic track ‘Dreamcatcher’ to the list, bringing with it a touch of impressive neo-psychedelia. I’m please to see another one of my favourite bands make an appearance on this compilation as Michigan based ‘Great Black Night’ bring their fuzzy brand of melodiously dreamy psych-pop to the sonic table. ‘Spit You Out’ is lifted from the bands latest six track release ‘Lift Those Hands’, a serious recommendation from me! ‘The Dead Lucid’ released their debut six track self titled EP to the masses back in October 2016. This is an immense slice of impressive psych rock and it’s well represented here with ‘If You Don’t Mind’, a serious throw back to that delicious 60’s psych sound.
Self classed as ‘Soundgaze’, Rome based Massimiliano Nardulli and Gabriele Saffioti aka ‘Pipes Not Dead’ create a heady mix of shoegaze & electronica with outstanding results. ‘The Place Where Time Stood Still’ plinks into existence on sequenced theatrics and electronic percussion before scooping you up on a journey of sonic discovery. Up next are the experimental indie rock/shoegaze stylistics of L.A based ‘PurePleaser’ who’s track ‘The Grateful 4’ at first confuses me before exploding into a electro-gaze masterpiece. The penultimate track on this epic 20 track compilation comes courtesy of ‘The Infinite Seas’, an LA based electronica duo comprised of Infinite Creativity Group Founder and Producer Dino Bose and Vocalist/Dancer Yanna Fabian who create dark and broody electronica. ‘Dark Lightning’ is reminiscent at times to the brilliant ‘Spc Eco’, with it’s huge production and ear catching vocalisations. The final piece of this immense worldwide sonic puzzle goes to Maryland based ‘Soñder’ and their specially commissioned ‘Sanctuary Remix’ of ‘STRAÑGE’. A fitting book end to one of the more interesting music compilations out there today. Go get it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.