Friday Full-Length: Astrosoniq, Son of A.P. Lady

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Astrosoniq, Son of A.P. Lady (2000)

Vastly underrated album from a wildly underrated band. First released in 2000 via - Proofreading and editing aid from best specialists. Put aside your worries, place your task here and receive your professional Freebird Records, the quizzically-titled Write a well-organized 4-5 paragraph narrative essay about a Click on “The Best Essay Writing Company PLEASE LEAVE THIS SHEET AT THIS COMPUTER Son of A.P. Lady would mark the full-length debut from Netherlands heavy rockers My paper writing service business ethic graduate level - 100% non-plagiarism guarantee of unique essays & papers. Composing a custom paper means work through lots of stages Essays Astrosoniq, and the band, who’d come eventually to be known as the “Wizards of Oss,” could hardly have made a more powerful opening statement. why did king and gandhi use civil disobedience - top-ranked and affordable paper to simplify your life Top affordable and trustworthy academic writing help. Put aside your fears Son of A.P Lady (previously discussed here) bears some of the hallmarks of its era, with a CD-minded 50-minute runtime and its use of samples as a means of transitioning between its eight component tracks, but it’s also got classic-style drive and groove and an underlying progressivism that not only shows itself as much in the funkified “Earthquake” as in the bounding weirdness of “Afterlife Rulers” and the self-aware post- how to write research paper in management Tinkers Topics For Dissertation antje petzold dissertation mit sloan essays Motörhead charge of “Godly Pace.” It’s a record that brims with personality to a righteously arrogant degree, seeming to borrow some of its hell-fucking-yes-we’re-about-to-do-this snottiness from punk rock at its finest, but never failing to live up to the significant ambitions it sets forward for itself, whether questioning if it’s possible to make a record without selling your soul before even beginning opener “Fistkick” or bassist hire someone to take your paper Entrepreneurship Education Phd Thesis Zemyx write essay on my great india business law paper topics Erik de Vocht taking the fore vocally to reimagine  see page. Essay and Resume Service provides professional writing services for students, executive, management and entry level Ronnie James Dio as a stoner rock singer on the party-time blowout “Ego Booster” later on.

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It feels almost impossible to overstate the level of achievement Son of A.P. Lady presents, especially as Astrosoniq‘s first album. Formed by van Herpen and van de Vondervoort in the wake of their prior outfit, A.P. Lady, they’d follow the 2000 Astrosoniq outing with 2002’s Soundgrenade (discussed here), the 2005 Made in Oss EP (discussed here), and 2006’s Speeder People (discussed here) before releasing their latest full-length to-date, Quadrant (review here), in 2010. Each of those releases — and let me just say that the bevvy of links there stems from a willful exploration I did their discography in 2010/2011; one of the most satisfying and least-regretted projects I’ve taken on in the eight-plus years I’ve run this site — continued to build on what Son of A.P. Lady set forth as the tenets of who Astrosoniq were as a group, and not a single one of them failed to add new elements or take a step forward from where they’d been previously. Whether you know their material or not, this is a special, special, band. 17 years later, Son of A.P. Lady still proves that was true at the outset.

Respected purveyor Ván Records did a vinyl reissue of Son of A.P. Lady last year as a deluxe boxed-set 2LP that’s gorgeous enough to say it’s the record getting its due, and though health issues have largely sidelined the band over the 2010s, I was fortunate enough to see them play at Roadburn last year (review here), where they were nothing short of jaw-dropping. I keep my fingers crossed for a new album — long said to be in the works — but the band also recently suffered the loss of manager/programmer Bidi van Drongelen, and though they paid him homage at memorial concert in June, that loss no doubt cast a pall over future plans as well. Still, one can hope.

And along those lines, I hope you listen to, absorb, and come to love Son of A.P. Lady if you already don’t. Thanks for reading.

Little bit after 5AM as I pour my first cup of coffee and get ready to close out the week. The sun isn’t up yet but it’s starting to get lighter out. I’ve been up since about four — alarm was set for 4:45, but I rolled over and was awake — but it’s taken me a while to really get myself going. Last night for dinner I overdosed on #garlicworship and made myself kind of sick. Gonna have to lay off for a week or two, maybe.

What did it, you ask? Well, the homemade pesto I was having with cloud bread was thoroughly-enough garlicked, but then I took an entire bulb and roasted it in the oven for an hour. Then I took another half-bulb of raw garlic, and another pack of store-bought roasted garlic from the salad bar at the Whole Foods down the way and I put all that in the food processor with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Blamo: garlic paste. It actually hurt to eat, but that didn’t stop me from spreading it on the bread in combination with the pesto or licking the spoon when I was done. It was awesome, and my thought at the time was if that’s how I’m going to die, at least I’m enjoying it.

Likelihood of my survival is yet to be determined. In the meantime, I have a well-earned stomach ache and garlic coming out of my pores. As I said to The Patient Mrs. when the meal was done, I’m the garlickiest garlicky who ever garlickied. She could do nothing but agree.

Needless to say, today’s a protein shake day. Going to take it easy. Have to.

On a completely different note unrelated to gastrointestinal distress, as of this week, for the first time in more than a year, I’m completely caught up on the mail. Not email (that I’ll never catch up on), but physical mail. Fun fact: I log every CD, LP, 7″, tape, etc., that comes in for this site. All of it. And I throw away nothing. The note a band sends with a disc that says, “Thanks for checking out our stuff?” Yup, I keep it. I’ve got a drawer full of press releases and notes like that — some are just post-its, some are on the backs of stickers or show flyers — going back a decade at this point.

And all the discs and so on themselves get logged in an Excel file, to keep track of what came in, when, what format it was in and from whom it came if that info is available. Sorting through everything is a time-consuming process and though I kept up as best I could with actually writing about the releases that were being sent, it had been since 2016 that the log was completely up to date. Now it is. I got four pieces of mail yesterday and logged them immediately. The box that was holding stuff is empty upstairs, just sitting there in the corner as my quiet victory. I could tell you how stoked I was to get through it all, but you likely wouldn’t believe it anyway.

To my silly, feeble and garlic-addled brain, that counts as part of baby prep, so I’ll say that’s proceeding well, despite the basket of laundry upstairs that still needs to be folded. The Patient Mrs. is tired but doing great because she’s amazing so of course she’s doing great. She’s been tired a lot, but The Pecan is getting bigger and so has all the more feet with which to be kicking her ass, so yeah, fatigue isn’t necessarily unexpected at this stage. By the end of next week we’ll be about two months away. Staggering.

I don’t usually do this, but I want to point something out before we look ahead to next week’s reviews and such. Let me put it in bold so it stands out to anyone skimming: I featured some seriously fucking awesome music this week. Seriously. I know it wasn’t all super-high-profile releases, but from the Radio Adds on Monday onward, it was excellent stuff all the way. Here are links because I think they deserve reiteration:

The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, SĂłlstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Eternal Black, Bleed the Days

Review & Track Premiere: Papir, V

Review & Track Premiere: Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2

Review: Zone Six, Live Spring 2017

Put those in combination with stuff like the Beastmaker Six Dumb Questions on Wednesday and yesterday’s Sergio Ch. video premiere and the Astrosoniq record above and you have the makings of one very kickass week. I don’t know how much of it you got to check out, but if the answer to that is “any,” you were only doing yourself a favor.

Next week is shaping up to be pretty choice too. Here’s what’s in the notes, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Pagan Altar track premiere/review; Argus lyric video.
Tue.: Six Dumb Questions with Demon Eye; Dead Heavens video.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions/track premiere with The Quill; Blaak Heat track premiere.
Thu.: Paradise Lost review.
Fri.: Mindkult review.

I expect some of that will shift, but yeah, more righteousness there. I put in a request to do a track premiere for the Mindkult record and wasn’t cool enough, but whatever. The whole thing’s streaming now anyway and it’s good, so I still want to get it featured. The Paradise Lost is right on too. Hell, all of it is. I don’t cover bullshit. Not enough time.

Speaking of time, I’ve taken up more than enough of yours. As I sit here and sip my coffee and continue to burp garlic, I wish you a great and safe weekend with just the right amount of moderation in whatever you do so that you don’t make yourself ill. I may be another day in recovering, but I think I’ll make it.

Thanks for reading and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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ZooN Releasing Debut LP DeeP on Dec. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Sometimes you have a leisure suit, and sometimes you put it to good use. Netherlands-based newcomers ZooN will issue their debut full-length, DeeP, on Dec. 19 through Lighttown Fidelity. The band’s guitarist, Ron van Herpen, has a pedigree that traces back to The Devil’s Blood and Astrosoniq — the Wizards of Oss themselves — so there’s some immediate interest there, but if that’s not enough to grab attention, the laid-on-mustache-thick Nick Caveisms of vocalist Fred van Bergen in the video below for “Darkness Falls” might do the job.

They’ve got a release show planned in Oss for the release date, and moody vibe to spare. Here’s the background, album info, links and video:


DeeP will be released by Lighttown Fidelity, an independent record label from Eindhoven with whom the band share their eagerness to go off the beaten path and find their own way of doing things.

ZooN is melancholic, cathartic, fiery, dark and intense with a twist of 60’s psychedelica.

The exact date of ZooN’s birth is unknown; however it is stated that the parturition took place somewhere in the year 2013 in Oss, the Netherlands. Founding father is Ron [ ex-Astrosoniq and ex-The Devil’s Blood ] who added a couple of friends to the ranks who already earned some spurs in the music scene.

Featuring members of such acclaimed bands as The Devil’s Blood, Astrosoniq, and The Gathering – ZooN conjure up certain expectations, but the album is willing you to put preconceptions to one side to one side and dive right in.

ZooN is also:
Ron van Herpen: guitar
Tim Ruterink: Rhodes and guitar
Tom Delforterie: drums
Niels Duffhues: bass
Fred van Bergen: vocals

Marcel van de Vondervoort [ production, percussion ]
Teun van de Velden [ photography ]
JĂ©rĂ´me Siegelaer [ videographer ]

official release of upcoming album deep on december 2015

1. darkness falls
2. deep
3. down
4. wood
5. hide
6. breathing space
7. strike (ft. Farida Lemouchi)

ZooN, “Darkness Falls” official video

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Recommended Buried Treasure Pt. 6-IV: Astrosoniq, Speeder People

Posted in Buried Treasure on February 4th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

It’s somehow fitting to end this Buried Treasure series on Dutch rockers Astrosoniq‘s discography with the album that was recommended in the first place. Not just because I’m a jackass who bought Soundgrenade when it should have been Speeder People and now I’m trying to make it seem like it’s all worked out anyway — because I know I most definitely am that jackass — but also for Speeder People‘s direct continuity with the latest Astrosoniq full-length, Quadrant (review here), which initially inspired me to check out the band’s other releases.

But although I’d say it’s worked out pretty well in the end, it was definitely a long road to get here. From Soundgrenade, back to the 2000 Son of A.P. Lady debut, jumping ahead to 2005’s Made in Oss, and interviewing drummer Marcel van de Vondervoort last month, it’s been an awful lot of Astrosoniq around these parts. The funny thing about it: the more I listen, the less I feel like I know. Don’t get me wrong, after listening to the entire full-length catalog multiple times over, I’d call myself familiar with the band’s work for sure, and a fan, but there’s still a lot to learn here.

Speeder People genre hops with unsettling ease. From the dark lounge and female guest vocals of “Lonely Woman” toward the 70-minute release’s midsection to the sci-fi samples spread throughout, the spaced-out feel of “Orbital Relay,” the swing in “Lipstick Traces,” the goofball country guitar of “Hot Chick” (which, unlike the preceding “Rocket Science,” isn’t actually about a hot chick), and the speed-metal-into-funk and winding tones of closer “Quadrant EL 6500/It’s Monster Surfin’ Time” that show up on Quadrant opener “Faustian Bargain,” there is at least one fuckload — maybe two fuckloads — of ideas to digest on Speeder People. I’ll definitely pass the recommendation on that came to me from reader Mathieu gave to me, but man, if you’re going to tackle this album, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Three track titles end in exclamation points — “Cold Hearted Guys, Like Us, Like it Loud!” “Godeater!” and “Red ‘Uns Go Fasta!” — which only adds to the charm, and in comparing Speeder People to the rest of the Astrosoniq catalog, I’d say it solidifies some of the weirdo elements of Made in Oss and sets up the refinement process that pays off on Quadrant, at once fitting well between the two and having no shortage of appeal on its own. The samples sprinkled throughout, varied as they are, do a lot to tie the songs together, though to be perfectly honest, by now I don’t blink twice when one track has a different sound than the next. That’s just what Astrosoniq does, and they’re ridiculously good at it.

And that, I suppose, is what I’ve learned more than anything else while exploring their catalog. Rampant experimentation? A seemingly endless creative drive offset by thick heavy rock grooves? Well, that’s just Astrosoniq being Astrosoniq. They did it on the first album, and they’ve only gotten better at it since. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d say go with Quadrant, the latest album, and work your way back. Wherever you pick up the thread, though, what you should understand is that the brilliant turns you’re hearing didn’t happen overnight. They’ve been there all along. Keep that in mind and your adventure can only get better.

[Special thanks to Astrosoniq manager Bidi for sending me Speeder People. It was the perfect way to end this series.]

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Recommended Buried Treasure Pt. 6-III: The Continuing Journey Through Astrosoniq’s Catalog

Posted in Buried Treasure on January 21st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

I have to admit, I’ve screwed this one all up. What I should have done that first drunken night when I was placing my order was go back to the original recommendation in the comments of my Astrosoniq, Quadrant, review and started working my way back from 2006’s Speeder People. At least that way, my understanding of the band’s progression would make some temporal sense. As it is, I’ve started with the latest album, then heard the second, then the first, and now the third — 2005’s Made in Oss.

The learning process seems endless, though, because even though by now I’ve interviewed drummer Marcel Van de Vondervoort about the growth over the band over the course of their 12 years together, I’m still just now finding out that Made in Oss, which has a total five tracks, isn’t an EP at all as I first thought when I bought it and a requisite couple other goodies off Amazon, but instead a 46-minute full-length album. Boy, is my face dumb.

Not only that, but it’s just about the most experimental release I’ve heard from Astrosoniq yet. Some familiar elements are there: the samples (the Wonder Woman ones spread over the last couple tracks are second in my heart only to “Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?” from Dumb and Dumber, which starts “Soul Searcher”), the riffy rock, the gruff, post-Garcia vocals. But the bluesy guitar work that makes up most of 11-minute closer “The Secret of the Magic Tiara” — also listed on the album as “The Magic of the Secret Tiara” — was a complete surprise, and an overwhelmingly pleasant one.

And as it was the final track, it was also nowhere near the first part of Made in Oss to catch me off guard. Right from the start of “Black Chasm,” Astrosoniq‘s goal seemed to be to defy the formula they’d established on their previous two albums, 2002’s Soundgrenade and 2000’s Son of A.P. Lady. It’s a fascinating turn, because now that I’ve heard this, I’d say Quadrant — discovering the stylistic origins of which has been the impetus for this whole exploration — has more in common with the first two records than it does with Made in Oss.

What does this mean? Well, it means I’m all the more nerdily excited about getting my grubby mitts on 2006’s Speeder People, for one thing. It also means that, as we round out this Recommended Buried Treasure series in the next and final installment, there are still questions unanswered about the direction Astrosoniq have taken over the course of their career! That’s fucking awesome. Perhaps geeky glee isn’t the easiest of emotions to carry across in type (though blogging seems to have been built specifically for that purpose, so maybe it’s just me), but I couldn’t be more stoked to dig into Speeder People and finally get to the root of why it was the album recommended in the first place.

To be concluded…

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Astrosoniq Interview with Marcel Van de Vondervoort: Airborne Through the Quadrant of Expanded Definition

Posted in Features on January 12th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

The fourth album from Dutch rock masters Astrosoniq, Quadrant, hit me like a face-bound roundhouse. The Wizards of Oss treat common notions of genre like water treats a screen, passing through and back on different sides of different lines, showing individual personality in their music like few active bands the world over in either the heavy rock underground or any other style. They are — and I don’t use this word lightly — unique.

As it was my first experience with the band, listening to Quadrant inspired me to traipse my way through the Astrosoniq back catalog for a still-in-progress series of Buried Treasure posts (here and here). So far what I’ve learned in so doing is that the willingness to toy with stylistic conventionalism Astrosoniq display on their latest album is hardly new to the band; they’ve been doing it since their Son of A.P. Lady debut in 2000.

All the more reason, then, to want to talk to drummer and founding member Marcel Van de Vondervoort, who not only contributes electronics (and drums, obviously) to Quadrant, but also produced and mixed the album in his own Torture Garden Studio. In the email interview that follows, he sheds light on Astrosoniq‘s processes, his own in writing and in the studio, the neurological condition that’s forced him to relearn how to drum using just his hands, and just how he managed to get something coherent out of the track “Zero,” on which Astrosoniq is joined by the entire band Zeus, one act in the left channel, one in the right.

You’ll find the complete Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Recommended Buried Treasure Pt. 6-II: Making My Way Through Astrosoniq’s Catalog

Posted in Buried Treasure on January 4th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

My buying power took a hit over the holidays (that’ll happen), but I did manage to put in an order for recommended Dutch rockers Astrosoniq‘s first full-length before the New Year hit. I’ve decided to make it a Buried Treasure series as I work my way through their releases — you can find their newest album, Quadrant, reviewed here and a post about 2002’s Soundgrenade here — since the one record that actually got recommended to me was 2006’s Speeder People and I haven’t gotten there yet. Kind of taking the scenic route.

I found Son of A.P. Lady — released on Freebird Records in 2000 — after an exhausting search. The usual haunts were a no-dice; All That is Heavy, eBay and Amazon, Gemm, Alone Records, Kozmik Artifactz and a few others all coming up empty. I finally found it on the Amazon UK site for about $20 from a user named USAcid King. It was about $20 with shipping and the exchange rate, but made all the more worth it by the foil gatefold digipak the CD comes in. Not to mention no one else in the world seemed to have it, so my options were limited.

Son of A.P. Lady confirms what I found out listening to Soundgrenade, namely that the genre-defying quirkiness of Quadrant wasn’t just a fluke or sudden shift in sound. That adventurous spirit was nascent in the band on Soundgrenade, and this being an even earlier record, it definitely is here too, but with the outright funk of “Earthquake,” the reveling doom of “Afterlife Rulers” and the buzzsaw stoner groove of “Doomrider,” there’s no question it’s been in Astrosoniq from the start. More than ever, I feel like I’m late to the party.

They’ve made Son of A.P. Lady available for free download on their website, so I guess on some level my buying it was pointless, but screw it, the artwork is awesome and the album rules. Hooked in the gruff vocals and nod-worthy riff of “You Loose,” I can’t say I wasted my money, and with 2004’s Made in Oss and Speeder People still to go, I feel like I’ve got a better understanding of how Astrosoniq grew into their asskickery.

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Recommended Buried Treasure Pt. 6: Astrosoniq, Soundgrenade

Posted in Buried Treasure on December 22nd, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Okay, so I kind of screwed this one up. Last month, when I went on (at length, as I will) about the genre-defying amazingness of Dutch rockers Astrosoniq‘s fourth album, Quadrant, reader Mathieu left a comment recommending I pick up 2006’s Speeder People, which he thought was better.

The thing is, I do most of my online CD shopping these days while intoxicated. As such, when I placed my most recent order at the All That is Heavy webstore, I selected 2002’s Soundgrenade instead. Whoops. Hey, at least I tried, and it’s not like the album I came out of it with is terrible. But when I listened through it for the first time, I said to myself, “Wow, these guys really made a jump from their third album to their fourth,” not realizing that in fact there were seven years, another album and an EP between Soundgrenade and Quadrant.

You can hear some of the stylistic bravery that shows up on Astrosoniq‘s latest, though. They bring in a little of that playful country sound on “Evil Rules in Showbizzland,”  and the disco rock of “So be It” could certainly be a precursor to the techno excursion that crops up on the latter half of “As Soon as They Got Airborne,” but one album is hardly an answer to the other. Rather, Soundgrenade shows Astrosoniq at an earlier stage in their development. The vocals remind more of John Garcia, and the album as a whole is a lot closer to stoner rock than Quadrant really got. I guess they grew up at some point between the two.

What point that might have been, however, I don’t yet know. This calls for further investigation! Nonetheless, even though I was too much of a dope to get it right when it came down to actually ordering the disc, thanks to Mathieu for the recommendation. Maybe when I finally get Speeder People I’ll post a “Recommended Buried Treasure Pt. 6-2” and go all Final Fantasy X on your asses. I’ll allow a moment for that reference to sink in…

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Astrosoniq Get Airborne and Wizardly on Quadrant

Posted in Reviews on November 12th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I vaguely recall hearing about it when Dutch stoner progressives Astrosoniq released their fourth full-length, Quadrant, in Europe last year on Spacejam Records, but it’s not until now that German imprint Exile on Mainstream (the difference being American distribution) is putting it out that I’m actually getting to experience the album. And what an experience it is. One of the year’s biggest surprises, as far as I’m concerned. As someone all but completely unfamiliar with Astrosoniq’s past work, hearing the five-piece’s ability to blend genres and transcend any given sound on Quadrant is like stumbling on an Egyptian tomb. You know, if Egyptian tombs held killer riffs and adventurous songwriting instead of jewels and mummies and the like. Okay. Maybe that’s not the best comparison.

Nonetheless, the “Wizards of Oss,” as they are cleverly known, stun right from the opener of Quadrant, “Faustian Bargain,” which blends Hawkwind synth and psych swirling courtesy of keymaster Teun van de Velden and drummer Marcel VdVdV (actually van de Vondervoort) with the natural acoustic guitars of Ron van Herpen and the gorgeous, subtly-layered vocals of Fred van Bergen… at least until the song kicks into heavy rock hyperdrive, putting bassist/backing vocalist RJ Gruijthuijzen to excellent use thickening the song and contrasting Quadrant’s softer beginning. The tone is immediately set: anything goes so long as it’s original, and what’s genuinely most impressive about Astrosoniq is that the experimentation, the delving into different sounds (there’s a section toward the end of “Faustian Bargain” that sounds like it could have come off an Ayreon record), is all completely under the control of the band. At no point on Quadrant, even when they bring in numerous guest performers, do they lose sight of structure or songwriting as a focus. The result is that Quadrant is a spellbinding listen.

Admittedly, some of the experiments don’t work as well as the others. The Ministry-style dissonant guitars on second track “Cloud of Decay” are brilliant and an excellent complement to the industrial stomp call-and-response chorus with an Al Jourgenson-style voice answering van Bergen. That track also makes the best use of rhythmic chains I’ve heard since Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down),” but it has to be noted that the vocal layer behind van Bergen in the call of the call-and-response sounds like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. Maybe that’s what Astrosoniq was going for; it wouldn’t really be surprising considering everything else they throw into the mix on that song and elsewhere, such as the immediately following “As Soon as They Got Airborne,” which launches back into space rock sampling, synths and acoustics and similar vocals to the beginning portion of the opener. Van Herpen shows off on more than one solo throughout the 14-minute track (longer by eight minutes than its next closest companion), hypnotizing listeners as he leads the jam in and out again of heavy territory until the song goes electronica before devolving into an old sci-fi sample for its closing two minutes or so. Amazing that in this mix Astrosoniq manages to squeeze not only the memorable timeline, repeated with regularity, but a catchy chorus as well. Three tracks and you’re 24 minutes into the 57-minute album, but there’s still plenty of journey in the remaining seven songs.

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