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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Ashtray Navigations - 'ssssnares' (Memoirs of an Aesthete)

This 3" CDr was issued by Phil Todd in 2002, documenting 18 more minutes of Ashtray Navigations, though I have to say that listening to this now when most of my Ashtray collection consists of the sludgebucket years of 2004-2007, I'm quite taken by it. This is six tracks, some only seconds long but enough to catch you off-guard with their weird dissonances and hiss; and others are longer 'workouts' (an overused word, for sure, but one that I always think is applicable to the marathon-like Ashtray Navigations pieces). 'Discoversion of America' isn't really disco, at least not like fellow Leeds artist Astral Social Club, but does have a ringing tonal lead, probably guitar or cheap synth, that makes it into an anthem of sorts. 'Point thine ears' is the longest piece, with C. Jarvis' "rat guitar/electronics" - dense garbageman psychedelics that give a strong hint to the Ben Reynolds/Mel Delaney years that will follow. There's parts on the early tracks, particularly 'Irons' and 'Smoke & Mirrors Fucking Shit' that recalls Todd's earlier band, Inca Eyeball - ramshackle acoustic messes that are clean yet ragged. Definitely this is one of my favorites among the zillions of Ashtray CDs I own - well, it's more like 12 but most of them won't see the light of Elbow Cinderblock Glass Mastered Constructor Bags since none have spines. This, packaged in a sturdy plastic case with a nice thick spine, has always gotten to sit at the "big" dinner table with the other spined jewelcases, so there you are.

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