[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
Released by the Russian label Black Mara (in an impressive format), this beginning of year 2018, Astral & Shit might not be your daily dark-ambient project. Though it has an immense discography and about 10 years of earthly living, this Russian outfit is adressed only to the few dedicated listeners. Perhaps those of us brooded by magnet attractors like Lustmord, Troum, Herbst9, have an intellectual-hinged difficulty in giving credit to such underground assemblies (more can be named here) that do not release through major labels (likewise, more can be named here), or simply find it hard to spare some time for a serious audition. In that respect, Astral & Shit can repel only by its name, but wholly deserves it.
The project’s output falls into the category of drone-ambient if one cares to protect his hearing beforehand. The amazing production of the record allows you to experience deeply every looping note, to dream on these laborious textures akin to a picture of the vastness of space. “Divo” is an album of pictography expressed by strenuous sounds that are breathtakingly consonant: once you open yourself to this journey that the album depicts, you will suffer a change caused by the simplicity that the music extols. Recurrent juxtapositions are a source of additive attractions and by the time you hear the first two songs (“Riphean Mountains” and “Ursa Major”), there is a chance that you distract yourself from daily ruminative thoughts. Idleness calls its best apprentices. “Polota Crossing” re-enacts the metamorphosis inside, there are sounds with a potential to open the body for a strange vivisection, a preparation to another type of embalming. These elegic and ecstatic tones are no short of a celestial ritual evolving into a dark matter mass. As usual for the genre, the economy of means fascinates altogether with the brilliant exploitations on the other tracks “Mugodzhar” and “Tagany”. Every now and then Astral & Shit points out sparse dissonances to ease this exceeding of prolonged drones, letting space for diving and floating.
Everyday’s existence is based on pressure, drone tones and notes take this weight away and waste it somewhere inside the stomach. It’s like eyes take a molecular view, a solution to ridicule matter, and recomposed it at a glance in other forms. “Beryls Eyes” is the track that closes “Divo”, the tone is more carnal, as if the monologue of this journey has found a new presence, a replica of the self that does not live on earth.
The result of the whole experience is that “Divo” leaves you blossomed, you care to come back, to dive back in these seas of sound fluctuations. Like the Symplegades rocks crush careless wanderers who try to pass through, the music on “Divo” crushes you, it swallows your life and lifts you again to the surface.