- As a blog, Astral Plane is adept at finding new and exciting names in club music. And they've funneled those impulses into a record label with an equally refreshing perspective. With a self-proclaimed mission to "push club music into noisier and more abstract territory," Astral Plane Recordings launched in January with a bang. The sci-fi-influenced Acheron EP by Switzerland's SHALT clothed experimental club music in gritty textures and saddled it to bucking rhythms. Now, the label returns with another lesser-known producer: Chants, from Madison, Wisconsin.
The Zookeeper, like Acheron, is all about texture, you might notice in the pits and cracks of the instrumentation. On opener "Silencer Magpie," the drums are chewed-up things and they trigger the kind of low-end quakes of a classic Pan Sonic record. The track veers between serene passages and gauntlets of noise, while "Crushed Lollipop" is pure attack. The drums seem to forcibly cut through the mix, snagging on sounds before they turn into brutally hammering phrases. It's all a bit frenzied and fragmented, like an IDM-style take on club music.
The title track sounds regal by comparison, pumping up a Jersey club bounce with strings and choirs. It's a strong production on the surface, but it feels conservative next to the madness of the other two. Chants flanks "The Zookeeper" with two short interludes called "Susurus." The first features a warbly piano that's violently interrupted by outbursts of drums, while the second finishes the EP with an eerie peacefulness. The Zookeeper is an uneven, often hectic ride, but like most of what Astral Plane touches, it's never boring.
01. Silencer Magpie
02. Crushed Lollipop
03. Susurrus Pt. 1
04. The Zookeeper
05. Susurrus Pt. 2