Saturday, 30 March 2013

From the Top Drawer XLVIII - Astralasia


Back in the saddle again after a bit of a hiatus, here we are with a new post.
Happily I have been lent a box of cassettes by an old friend (thank you Michael!) which contains a number of gems from back-in-the-day and I shall be ripping them to upload over the next months along with scanned artwork etc. (filehosting and copyright claims permitting!).
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Astralasia are a dance and ambient act who started off as an offshoot of the Magic Mushroom Band, a well-loved group who played many psychedelic gigs and festival appearances from 1982 into the 1990s.
Soon after Marc Hunt (aka Swordfish) replaced drummer Jim Lacey in 1989, members of the band began to explore Ambient-Dub (and eventually Goa/Trance/House) territory with Astralasia. While the members still considered themselves mainly as being the Magic Mushroom Band, Astralasia was a huge success from the start, and they soon spent more time on the side project than on the original formation until Astralasia took over and as far as I know, the (affectionately known) Mushies have been 'on hold' since 1995.

'Originally founded as a dub-oriented side-project to the UK's legendary psychedelic rock-ensemble Magic Mushroom Band, Astralasia have quickly gone on to outlive and creatively outflank their former mothership. The group's music is a high-energy concoction of trance-infused electronic wizardry, intoxicating live-grooves and well-chilled moments of sheer sonic bliss. In 1993, the project garnered international attention thanks to their classic remix of Porcupine Tree's breakthrough track 'Voyage 34' and since then, the six-piece have never ceased to further develop and refine their sound.' (from their own website - http://www.astralasia.co.uk/)


'Vol.2' is an early but ahead-of-its-time 1990 cassette release from this ambient/dance act who have gone from strength to strength and sophistication over their more than 20 years existence. It features an appearance by David Jackson of Van Der Graaf Generator on sax & flute.
('Tracklisting is very similar to that of the "Astralasia" album. "Astralasia (ambient mix)" appears as "Astralasia Pt.2" on that release.' Discogs)

Ripped as two side-long tracks @320kbps
Get a copy HERE  



8 comments:

  1. Thank You from Anonymous w/ the long list of cassettes

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  2. Only just discovered your blog, initially through looking for the Children of the Bong tape, but am glad to have found many other wonders here!
    You don't have any tapes by The Sea, by any chance, do you? Mine sounds dreadful now due to overplaying, the sound bleeds through from the other side :-S

    Thanks again for archiving all these cassette-only releases, man.

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    1. Hello Dan, 'fraid I don't have anything by The Sea (South-East London based band, if I remember rightly..?), so sorry about that.

      Yeah, that's the trouble with old tapes, they stretch, lose their oxide coating and of course get mangled along the way over time.
      'Young people today with all their digital malarkey don't know what we had to put up with back in the day...etc etc'
      ;-D

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  3. Yeah, The Sea were one of the Peckham Dolehouse bands, but never got as big as Back To The Planet. Bit punkier and folkier, less "poppy". The bass player (and maybe one other of the band?) were (are?) acid-techno act Test Dept!

    If I source any Sea tapes, I'll hook you up :D

    Don't know if you remember a psychedelic punk-pop band called Bum! from around the same time?!
    Their 1993 self-produced tape, The Valerie Brown EP got re-released on iTunes last year, which I guess is is almost as good as Mutagen and Webcore putting theirs up for free. Hopefully more of these nearly-forgotten bands do one or the other in the next few years!

    For any Bum! fans who might stumble on this, they still kind of exist under the name Dogstand.

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  4. Ah yes, the delights of the Peckham Dolehouse - I remember it well ;)

    Thanks for the info re: The Sea and Bum!. Don't know the latter, I must confess.
    Cheers Dan.

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  5. Hope this isn't a shameless plug, but in a similar vein, I've put up my 2 odd little psychedelic electronic CD-R EPs for download on Soundcloud, they were mostly made "elsewhere" so you might like!

    One of them I thought was lost forever until someone who had kept a copy sent it to me a month or so ago!

    http://soundcloud.com/clarkanoid/sets/some-tracks-from-2002-3-that

    http://soundcloud.com/clarkanoid/sets/some-old-bits-n-bobs

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  6. many many thanks for your music, i used to have a great collection of tapes, bought at mainly the club dog gigs, tripping mostly, back in those glorious years of the late 80's, i have the hard case but alas no cassette inside of this astralasia item, wonderful to listen to, looking for the illegal rave in early 90's somewhere in sussex, No Raves here, said the ol Bill when stopping our van?, lol happy daze

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