Fluorescent Bells is the perfect sound for a cassette affair. One half charming and the other naturalist intriguing, both go hand in hand when listening to Bastian Void. It’s like being transfixed into the minds of our own universe. An analog thought process, Joe Bastardo (the name I would attribute to someone working up a gutter punk odyssey than a synth-like film score fantasia) does a fantastic job at melding gritty ’80s-style sic-fi film score with planetary synth movements.
Bastardo is no stranger to the cassette industry. The owner of Moss Archive, he has recently dabbled in the cassette rejuvenation with bands like Gay Shapes and Homeowner. The cover designs are tantalizing and done so in a refined way. Bastian Void is more Tubular Bells/Orb-esque in graphic design theory than say Com Truise is to neon. Somewhat Tron-ish with obvious results, the imagery reflects the music within. Not the best science fiction cover design in my book, but it does remind me of William Gibson quite a bit.
You can get lost inside the vibrations of these songs. Your surroundings change. You focal point becomes slightly askew. The retro-ambient approach with synth swells amp you up as notes pierce through the forece field in a burning sensation. This is “Atrium.” It’s pulse is vivid and it puts you in the mind of the machine. I want to get lost in its modified calm.
We explore what feels like an antiquated old tool. A space ship lost in time, you can imagine what “Rotating Wave Display” does to the mechanics of this album. More frantic sequences dance around the background of a meditative pow wow of what feels like electronic peyote preparing us for the out of body experience that is “Respirit.” Sounds bend into askew tunings and the waves lap around in your mind, processing like a Commodore 64 accommodates to its own function. Not much gets beyond the repetitiveness of this song, and the subtle contrast takes this album into a powerful new level.
“Visitors” uses echo and strange sampling to recreate an organic setting that could serve on our planet or any other for that matter. Bastardo’s experimentation disconnects in feeling for proper layering and depth. This song might just become the soundtrack to your insanity, something that has not been effective since UF Orb.
Then there is “Hyperbole Stasis Daze.” Just when you think seven songs are clearly not enough, Bastian Void concocts this ambient Odeyssey. A 20-minute journey through the landscape of distant hums. What makes this song great on cassette is that the technology deters you from sifting through the song. It forces you to listen and pay attention. It makes you aware unlike a simple digital accolade. This beast of a song is worth the weight of the album itself.
Really I could not recommend this album more. Fluorescent Bells is an ambient album that is chock full of character where each song becomes an entity amongst itself. Arguably a top 10 ambient album for 2012.