Review: Astral Surf Gypsies - Breath of the Rat Lady (2005)


artist: Astral Surf Gypsies
release: Breath of the Rat Lady
format: CD-R
year of release: 2005
label: Bunkier Pro­duc­tions
dur­a­tion: 48:14

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

What to expect from a band called Astral Surf Gypsies, and an album called Breath of the Rat Lady? Well, I had no idea but it looked neat in it’s over­sized pack­aging.
There’s a really strange text writ­ten inside the pack­age, about the Rat Lady and her chil­dren. There are also some strange look­ing paint­ings and sym­bols placed through­out it. I thought, if the music is half as weird, then it is really weird.

And the music then, ran­ging from strange folk music to some kind of half organic, half elec­tric ambi­ent, is not at all of low qual­ity and it is full of nice ideas. But I can’t enjoy this the way I want to. I sat down and really listened to this album, two or three times. But I didn’t under­stand what to look for, at times it soun­ded just like impro­vised non­sense. It is so psy­che­delic it becomes hard to listen to. The two men in the band have actu­ally used many instru­ments to cre­ate their music, but after a while, all you can hear is swirl­ing key­boards, gui­tars and voices. Then, in the middle of third listen­ing, I turned on the com­puter, star­ted surf­ing around, check­ing my mail and such every­day things. And Astral Surf Gypsies in the back­ground soun­ded kind of pleas­ant. So I guess that’s what it is for me, back­ground music. I bet that if you can handle all the strange trips on this disc it’s a real high pointer.

I would like to namedrop some sim­ilar artists but I can’t think of any­thing like this. The nearest would be some psych folk from the 60’s but even there I can not find any­thing com­par­able. The bands MySpace site says that they are influ­enced by diverse sham­an­istic arts, Middle East­ern music, Cur­rent 93, Sonic Youth, Simon Pos­ford and Infec­ted Mush­room amongst oth­ers. Quite a spec­trum, with other words. Some lyr­ics are adap­ted from the works of Aleister Crow­ley, just to bring even more strange­ness in this absurd release.

If you are look­ing for some­thing ori­ginal and have a mind that can handle some of the most psy­che­delic tunes in 25 years, I think you should give Astral Surf Gypsies a chance. Or if you want some­thing to play in the back­ground…

Reviewed by CME

Track­list:

1. I Adore Thee In Song (4:15)
2. I Magi N’aton (6:19)
3. A Rif­less Sea (7:36)
4. Bal­lad Of The Rat Thieves (10:06)
5. Tara­mis (I Am Star) (10:43)
6. The Vei­less Mater (4:41)
7. Might Of Thy Breath (4:36)

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