ashtray navigations – the beak stuck out of the snow

March 10, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
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“So Phil,” I said, sitting on a velvet cushion, “why don’t you point me at some new Ashtray Navigations product so I can hang a blog post on it?  I’ve been going on and on about how brilliant everyone else is – it must be your turn by now.”  By way of an answer the great man silently slid a shrink-wrapped digipack over the onyx table between us then leant back, nonchalantly puffing on his hookah pipe and smiling cryptically…

OK, well it wasn’t quite like that but almost.  ‘the beak…’ is the top-notch new release from Phil Todd’s Ashtray Navigations (credited as ASHTRAYNAVIGATIONS on this release).  Here’s the spec: properly pressed CD, 32ish minutes over four tracks with the last being a variation of the first, lovely full colour printing both on the CD and of the self-designed digipack cover – see above.  Limited to a panic-inducing 200 copies.

But what is it like?  Well, it is a heady, bubbling mix of analogue synths, stirred with some hard twangin’ distortion-dripping tropical guitar.  All the tracks have a cosmiche, multi-layered and emotionally dense texture but, for all that, are surprisingly light of touch.  The third, longest and most amusingly named track, ‘you’d look good as a 5 pound note’, starts with a crunching beat that wouldn’t be out of place on an Astral Social Club cdr but then evolves into an beautifully controlled freak-out (yes, I know, I know – but you get what I mean).  It both grooves and connected with something in me in the same way that the best Krautrock does.  “Maybe I was caught in an odd mood,” I thought, as I found myself moved, “but, goddammit, there it is again on the second listen, and the third…”  This is great stuff and you should do your best to secure a copy.

Edit: following a hard-nosed business lunch today I can reveal that costs are as follows and include postage: UK = £8, Europe = £9, everywhere else = £10.  Payment via paypal to – don’t send anything to me!


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  1. Rob,

    This new disc sounds like a must – and a real CD too! I’ve sent an order off to Phil.

    Hope you’re well.


    • Hey Brian,

      Well, an old knee injury is keeping me from sleeping but otherwise I am fighting fit, thanks for asking. Yeah, Phil’s newie is a treat. I know I say that about everything on this blog but, hey, the nice thing about doing it is that I’m not obliged to write about anything I don’t think is great!

      Love, Rob H x

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