The sonic landscape that is Astro Sonic’s debut album Come Closer and I’ll Tell You, isn’t like most other albums. Far from it. Recorded during these three days at the Svenska Grammofon Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden, Astro Sonic use their musical palette to push musical boundaries. Seamlessly, musical genres melt into eleven sonic landscapes. Mostly improvised, Astro Sonic look to the past to create the music of the future. Drawing inspiration from ambient, avant-garde, electronica, Krautrock, synth impro and free jazz, seamlessly, musical genres unite during eleven sonic landscapes. These sonic soundscapes paint evocative pictures.

Astro Sonic sound as if they’ve sought inspiration for Come Closer and I’ll Tell You from the rugged Scandanavian landscape. Close your eyes, and you head off on a musical journey. Ethereal beauty becomes haunting, broody, moody and magnificent. Sometimes, Come Closer and I’ll Tell You is spellbinding and breathtaking. Always, it’s compelling and has you spellbound. Considering Come Closer and I’ll Tell You is Astro Sonic’s debut album, which will be released on 2nd December 2013, on Hubro Music, that’s quite remarkable. However, in other ways, it’s not surprising, given the amount of time the members of Astro Sonic have been working together.

It was back in 2008, when Astro Sonic was formed. Before that, its three members Erlend Slettevoll, Rune Nergaard and Gard Nillssen had been collaborating. Astro Sonic was made of three of Norway’s best musicians. This included Erlend Slettevoll, who played synths in both Grand Central and The Core. Then there’s Rune Nergaard, the bassist from Norwegian guitar trio Marvel Machine. The third and final member, Gard Nillssen, is the drummer for Susanne Soundfor. Rune and Gard knew each other. For ten years, they’d been Bushman’s Revenge’s rhythm section. In 2008, they became Astro Sonic’s engine room. When Erlend Slettevoll’s inventive synth playing was added to the equation, then Astro Sonic became a potent musical force.

Since 2008, Astro Sonic have been constantly honing their sound. They’ve also been pushing musical boundaries and fusing musical genres. They’ve played live, but until now, haven’t released a debut album. Recently they decided to rectify this. 

For what became Come Closer and I’ll Tell You, Astro Sonic cowrote nine tracks. The exceptions are 437,7 Days which Rune wrote and Analog Karma, which Erlend penned. These eleven tracks became Astro Sonic’s debut album Come Closer and I’ll Tell You.

Heading to Svenska Grammofon Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden, recording of Come Closer and I’ll Tell You took just three days. Between the 10th to 12th November 2011, eleven tracks were recorded in Gothenberg. Each of the group are multi-instrumentalists, brought something new to what became Come Closer and I’ll Tell You. Erlend plays Fender Rhodes, Moog Voyager and Prophet 5. Rune takes care of bass, electronics and drum machines. As for Gard, drums, tablamachine, gongs, bow, vibes and electronics are his forte. Then to complete Come Closer and I’ll Tell You Astro Sonic spent two days in August 2012, completing their debut album. Now just over a year later, Hubro Music will release Come Closer and I’ll Tell You on December 2013. Come Closer and I’ll Tell You will introduce the world to the ambitious, innovative and groundbreaking music of Astro Sonic, which I’ll tell you about.

Retrodynamics, a fifty-three second musical amuse bouche opens Come Closer and I’ll Tell You. Droning, Hendrix-sque synths sound as if they’re guiding a ship through thick fog. They’re not. With hissing ho-hats for company, instead, their raison d’etre is to ensure Astro Sonic have your attention as this musical adventure unfolds.

Distant, thoughtful and dramatic describes the opening bars to Orbiter. It’s a futuristic sonic landscape, that brings to mind distant galaxies. Melancholy and wistful, footsteps come towards you. Meanwhile the Fender Rhodes adds a melancholy contrast to the drama that’s unfolding. By now, Orbiter sounds like the soundtrack to an outbreak of intergalactic warfare.

A myriad of eerie, sci-fi sounds opens The Electric Airbag Police. Its title seems to be a nod towards two  tracks from Radiohead’s OK Computer. Ambient, experimental and synth wave gives way to a rock inspired track. Astro Sonic’s rhythm section provide the heartbeat while stabs of synths join beeps, squeaks and crackles aplenty. Locking into a groove, Rune’s bass and Gard’s drums power the track along. As they drop out, what sounds like a crackly radio and sci-fi sounds take centre-stage. It’s easy to imagine this post rock, jazz-tinged track being the soundtrack to spacecraft taking off, heading to an unknown, mysterious destination. A genre-sprawling track, Astro Sonic paint evocative pictures that unfold within your mind’s eye.

Mysterious. That describes 437,7 Days, another one minute track. Again, it conjurs up pictures of outer space and science fiction novels. It sounds as if a U.F.O. is landing. Dramatic and moody, it’s as if it’s hovering above you. This sends shivers down your spine, as you wonder what’ll happen next? Spine-tingling and mysterious. That’s a powerful combination.

Magnavox, another short track, is a fusion of genres and influences. Rock, Krautrock, psychedelia, postindustrial and free jazz join a myriad of sci-fi sounds and sound effects. The result is an ambitious and groundbreaking track.

Rolls of rocky drums, prog rock keyboards and drum and bass’ drums open The Shell Falls Rapidly And Splashes Into The Sea. Then there’s sci-fi synths and futuristic, sound effects. In the space of one minute, Astro Sonic fuse numerous musical genres and influences. Not only do they push musical boundaries, but throw away the musical rulebook. Anything is possible it seems in Astro Sonic’s world. They become Norway’s answer to Jimi Hendrix, their talent, energy and innovation creating a mind-blowing, lysergic track.

Lander sees Astro Sonic Rune’s bass and Gard’s drums create the backdrop for jagged, futuristic synths. It’s a compelling combination. Elements of rock, ambient and psychedelia unite. They create a poignant, wistful combination. Eventually, it drifts into the distance, leaving its question unanswered.

EDM, rock, industrial and experimental combines on No Satisfaction At All. Powered along by Gard’s drums, space-age synths and sound effects float above the arrangement. They shimmer, quiver and quake, while hi-hats hiss. After meandering along, the arrangement bursts into life, heading towards its dramatic and sudden crescendo.

From the opening bars, it’s obvious Analogue Karma is more than a little special. It sounds as if it belongs on an seventies Pink Floyd album. Slow, spacious drums, vibes, synths and sound effects combine creating an innovative, futuristic sound. Then the Fender Rhodes weaves its magic, playing its part in what sounds like the soundtrack to a journey to a distant planet. Understated, evocative, atmospheric and later, dramatic Astro Sonic join forces to create what’s quite simply the highlights of Come Closer and I’ll Tell You.

Fairy Queen closes Come Closer and I’ll Tell You, and is one of the longer tracks on Come Closer and I’ll Tell You. This is no bad thing. It allows Astro Sonic to stretch their legs and demonstrate what they’re capable of. Whereas they shorter tracks were akin to a short story, this is a novel. It’s some thing of an adventure, a journey into the unknown. With its understated, eerie, pensive sound, ambient, classical, experimental, psychedelia and even Celtic influences unite. As the arrangement meanders along, shakers, synths and strings combine. Mostly they’re understated and melodic. Other times they’re mysterious, dramatic and almost discordant. A string of surprises are sprung by Astro Sonic. This ensures the listener learns to expect the unexpected, on what’s a compelling musical adventure, with twists and turns aplenty in store for the unsuspecting listener.

As debut albums go, Astro Sonic’s Come Closer and I’ll Tell You which will be released on 2nd December 2013, on Hubro Music, is one of the best I’ve heard in the last few years. Over eleven soundscapes, Astro Sonic use their musical palette to create one of the most ambitious and groundbreaking albums of 2013. To do this, they’ve drawn inspiration from a whole host of musical influences. Everything from ambient, avant-garde, EDM, electronica, free jazz, industrial, jazz, Krautrock, postindustrial, post-rock, prog rock, psychedelia and synth wave play their part in Come Closer and I’ll Tell You. When all this is combined, the result is an album that’s a cinematic musical adventure.

Cinematic is the best way to describe Come Closer and I’ll Tell You. It conjurs up pictures and scenarios. Haunting, atmospheric and evocative, many of the tracks have a futuristic, sci-fi sound. Instantly, you’re transported into this space-age, 21st Century world. Other tracks are understated, eerie, moody and broody, while others are melancholy, wistful and pensive. That adds to Come Closer and I’ll Tell You cinematic quality. Sometimes, moderne describes the music on Come Closer and I’ll Tell You. Dance music and rock are added to the mix as Astro Sonic create tomorrow’s music today. That’s the perfect way to describe such ambitious, 

Ambitious, moody, broody and pensive, plus dramatic, melodramatic, melancholy and beautiful. These are just some of the words that describe Come Closer and I’ll Tell You. It’s an album that variously, washes over you, embraces you, challenges you and forces you to think, as it paints pictures in your mind’s eye. Come Closer and I’ll Tell You is best described as the soundtrack to a film that’s yet to be made. With Astro Sonic supplying the music, all you need to do, is supply the pictures to Come Closer and I’ll Tell You, one of the most evocative, atmospheric and cinematic albums of 2013. Standout Tracks: Orbiter, The Electric Airbag Police, Analogue Karma and Fairy Queen.


Come Closer And I'll Tell You

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