Saturday 25 February 2023



Astrobrite - Crasher
Well that's undeniably impressive. A lost monster of late shoegaze that got found.

 Ok so this is Scott Cortez the mastermind behind LovesLiesCrushing with his other 90s project Astrobrite. In the actual 90s I was not aware he had another group. I mean they existed somewhere in America in the 90s releasing only a coupla singles and a handful of hand dubbed limited run cassettes. It's pretty amazing that this tune, recorded in 1995, remained on an obscure fan mail out tape until it turned up on the cd compilation Crush in 2001. 

The rest of Crush is culled from his 1995 tape archive. If you worship at the alter of Glider, Tremelo, JAMC, Ultra Vivid Scene, anything that sounds like Alan Moulder recorded it and you want more, Crush is for you. 

Astrobrite - Orange Creamsickle 
In 2004 Scott Cortez was raiding his archive again. This time he excavated tunes from Astrobrite's first couple of years 1993/94. The result was the compilation Pinkshinyultrablast which was issued on the Japanese label Vinyl Junkie Recordings. 

Pinkshinyultrablast's got plenty of noise-pop/shoegaze shenanigans plus tinges of pop, psych and glam. It's all about the sound design though, his unique organisation of sound. Cortez moves around his dense sonic layers like few rock musicians do. He got the memo from To Here Knows When and ran with it. Sounds are often placed alongside one another for juxtaposition purposes as opposed to being blended. It's all about the contrast of textures and tones, unconventional EQing, odd sound-field placement etc. all intuitively crafted for a rare immersive listening experience.

Along with MBV, JAMC, Cocteau Twins, Durutti Column, Japan, John Hassell, Fripp, Belew et al. his other major influence is film sound design and soundtracks.  

It has been noted that perhaps Fennesz was influenced by Cortez's unique approach to sound.

Astrobrite - Lollipop
Another one from Pinkshinyultrablast. Quite a spectacular sonic onslaught. Pop hooks doused in distorted noise. That's noise-pop.

Astrobrite - Green Duster and Mazinga
In 2011 Scott Cortez raided his 90s archive once again and came up with the compilation Boombox Supernova. He calls it a "lost album of trademark blurry fuzzed out drone from the early years, circa 94-98". Who am I to disagree. This is some of the vaguest most bleached out shoegaze ever. Boombox Supernova isn't a rock record like the previously mentioned collections Crush & Pinkshinyultrablast are. The tracks here are like the cosmic ambient interludes from Loveless or maybe what you would expect a totally blown out 1984 Robin Guthrie demo to sound like. Fleeting treble-y wisps of ethereal fog. I actually think it's the least derivative of the three 90s archive albums that Astrobrite have released and it's my favourite.


Boombox Supernova - Astrobrite
The stellar title track.

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