With the proliferation of cheap media and CDR drives, it seems like just about everyone and their brother is running some sort of small record label these days. One only need to scan through the bins of used LPs at a thrift store to project the future of many of these releases, but despite the glut of music on the market, I'm all for it. Although it obviously means more things to wade through, as an artist myself I'm happy that the bar has again been lowered on a technology so that anyone can do it. It's happened many times now with vinyl, cassettes, and now CD's (giving everyone an afordable, digital medium to release work).
Asaurus Records is yet another bedroom (or kitchen, or whatever) CDR label putting out music in small runs with lovingly assembled packaging. Unlike many product that people are putting out, it's nicely-designed and well put together. Astoria is just over an hour of drone/ambient work from a group called When I Know You Will Too, and although it's not essential, there are some vibrant ideas that bloom on the release.
The disc opens with "Mter," and a drone that just skims the border of being abrasive rings back and forth while reverbed bells clang like windchimes sending a signal from across an empty bay. It's somewhat reminiscent of work by Angus Maclaurin on his haunting Glass Music release, and the track morphs over into the softer, more gentle chiming melodies of "No Further Than Whats In Front Of You," a nice little track that works quite well. The album hits a nice high point with "Stac&Rcd," a lovely little track that moves like flecks of sunlight off a slow-moving stream of water. At other points on the release, things just don't quite work as well, as on the overly digitally-manipulated pings of "Bel Fin" and the somewhat overlong "Yr3," but mostly the album is a gentle path of warm soundscapes for the hours closest to sleep (or during). Definitely more textural than melodic, the release treads somewhat similar ground as Stars Of The Lid (without sounding quite so "heavy") or even the beatless Selected Ambient Works Volume 2-era Aphex Twin. As with most drone music, I suspect I'll enjoy it more when the weather gets a little colder, but , it's a darn good little release from another small label you've most likely never heard of.