ashtray navigations are my favourite band: empirical fact

July 29, 2011 at 7:34 am | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Ashtray Navigations – Cinderella Stamps

Much in the world of music appreciation is irreducibly subjective.  The opinions you hold with such granite resolution, the opinions that cause you to slam your pint down on the pub table and insist: “NO!”, are nothing more than an oil slick, millimetres thick, on a roiling, bottomless sea.  They are nothing.

However, one crucial question can be settled by science and that question is ‘what is your favourite band?’  As far as I am concerned this is a purely empirical matter: your favourite band is the band you choose to spend the most time listening to.  Now don’t give me any shit about how your favourite band is Nurse With Wound but, as they are hardly suitable for everyday consumption, you end up listening to that Rolling Stones compilation more often.  I won’t have it.  Every time you choose to listen to something make a note of the band name and the minutes spent in their company, gather the data, do some arithmetic and out will pop the unarguably correct answer.  When I did my own calculations the resulting punch card contained two words, strangely hand-scripted in a copper-plate font: Ashtray Navigations.

Should you be unfamiliar with the magisterial pedigree of this act and their triumph-heavy back catalogue then I suggest you make a sandwich and settle down in front of the exhaustive account offered by Bang the Bore.  To catch up on the latest stuff you should then bookmark the Ashtray blog itself.  Then you should come back here and read the next paragraph.  OK, see you in an hour.  The rest of you don’t need to wait – they’ll catch up.

Right then, I’d like to pick up on a comment made by Neil Campbell in the BtB article which echoes a thought I voice further down that same page: the latest stuff is the best.  The more synth-led, cosmiche direction they’ve been exploring for the last couple of years has produced a run of third-eye opening releases, grin-inducing in their quality.

‘Cinderella Stamps’ is the latest, a four track CD-r released in a run of 100 on Phil’s own Memoirs of an Aesthete label, and it is almost comical to me how perfectly it ensures that I get my groove on. Pretty much every musical element I dig is there, distilled and combined.  One finger piano?  Check.  Expansively tangerine wob-wob synths?  Check.  Red-hot tropical guitar?  Check.  And so on.  It’s all great but ‘Outside Air’ is my favourite track.  Imagine Phil and Mel soundtracking the adventures of an interstellar Buddha, preaching the eternal truths to bewildered alien races on Chris Foss style space-arks.  Or, if you like, it is Ashtray’s ‘Within You Without You’.

What next, eh?  What next?

You can’t click ‘buy here’ just yet, but I am assured this will be out very soon.  Visit the Ashtray blog for the latest news and/or express an interest via their contact page.

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