Astoria Sound – Latitudes

We like to talk a lot about our digital-powered global independent music scene. Certainly from a listener’s perspective, the world is our oyster like never before. But can the same be said for artists? How many seek out opportunities to work with others in different parts of the world?

Add San Diego duo Astoria Sound to the list of acts taking full advantage of musical free trade.

Latitudes features seven collaborations recorded with artists in different parts of the world. Each is named for their partner’s global positioning.

“The whole idea behind Latitudes was to find musicians from around the globe to work with,” Chris told me. “The tracks are named from the latitude of the studios in which our collaborators worked on the song.”

The result is more cohesive than you might expect. This is clearly a group of like-minded electronic musicians. The work consistently straddles ambient and gritty electronics. There isn’t a soft spot to be found, either on the seven partner-works or the three Astoria Sound-only recordings.

So it’s difficult to pick favourites. “54°57’26°N (The Glow)” is a lovely example of the subtle edginess featured on the disc. That one’s a collaboration with Bodies Under The Waterfall.

“55°45’20°N (Torn Shadow),” produced with GIPNO is another compelling, more difficult listen.

Again though, the album is a treat from start to finish. These musicians have a clear respect for their audiences. Because the work never patronizes, because it will challenge what a lot of listeners think of as ambient music, it is a disc that’s bound to have a lengthy shelf-life.

Kevin Press

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