Afternaut: Orbit


Following support slots with Walls and Beak, Afternaut returns with a new collection of music orbiting the spheres.

I’ve got another confession to make…
Gah. Dave Grohl‘s band are so insipid I sometimes wish Chad Channing had been taller and beat the living shit out of Kurt in a kind of Quantum Leap/I’ve seen the future and it will be shlock careerism and Wasting Light.
Speaking of insipid rock, how about the new Biffy Clyro? Since when was morphing into Snow Patrol cool? And how very dare they steal two members of Oceansize and render them useless pawns in their masterplan into becoming the UK version of the Foos. Why is so much alternative rock so transparent and mundane?
Anyways, yes, confession time. There’s two gigs (out of the near hundred) we’ve seen this year that we’ve not actually reviewed. Sorry, Drake we didn’t find the time, and didn’t reckon on your 8,000 13-year-old fans would bother logging on here.
The other, was a laptop marathon at the Shipping Forecast way back on June 1. It was a corking night all told, and also marked our first insight into the world of Adam Rowley aka the lone Afternaut.
He who hovered behind his silver laptop with the omnipresent glowing Granny Smith shining out of the sea of maroon lighting. Initial impressions were positive, tempered with the sense that this was a dude very much in development.
As with most electronic knob-twiddling support sets you’ve little to affix your attention on – save the music, which is nakedly bare, and Afternaut’s set revealed dark, spacial landscapes with sparse detail. At times it was as minimal as Tangerine Dream‘s Phaedra yet lacked the sinister Italo-keys. But there was promise, particularly in the haunting intensity of Nebulae from 2011 EP Polaris.
This promise has begun to be realised on new EP, Orbit. That it’s been 11 months in gestation shows Afternaut’s considered approach and this is reflected in the subtle dynamics and slivering grooves prevalent in each of the four tracks.
Opener Ceres combines glistening electronics, motorik low end mechanical clunks and the retro-future horror synths of Zombie Zombie. The most optimistic (in that it doesn’t sound like you’re about to be gutfucked through an air vent by a xenomorph) track of the quartet is Pallas – all woody, earthy percussion and dreamy keys.
Despite being the shortest track on the EP, Juno is perhaps the most ambitious as it circumnavigates a whole galaxy of textures; from the glacial surrender of it’s opening minute to a dub drone collision with reverb drenched backward noise through to manipulated vistas of electricity. It’s sonically challenging and also very good indeed.
Closer, Vesta begins with Mezzanine like malevolence before sci-fi shimmers and those characteristic hollow swirls of echo blurt out of the abyss.
Afternaut plays Deep Hedonia‘s Ark01 alongside Heatsick at Drop the Dumbells, 34A Slater Street on Friday December 7, 7pm-3am. £5.

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Walls live in Liverpool
Oh, and that review… Walls were sublime, though there mid-song fiddling slowed the pace allowing the already lubed revellers to intermittently stop their revelling. Tracks from Coracle worked a treat particularly a thumping Sunporch which had two punters simultaneously making out while climbing up a pillar.
Earlier Ghosting Season thrashed their way through 40 minutes of high octane electric drum pad fury – what they lacked in variety they made up with propulsive dynamism and a dozen buckets of sweat. The crowd licked their lips and lapped it up.
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Ghosting Season live in Liverpool
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Walls live in Liverpool
Pictures by Rachel Brockley.