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Taking his cue from seminal mix albums of days gone by, Glenn Astro is back with a compilation of original productions from a cast of fictional artists on “Nothing Is Real”. Across 13 tracks, the Tartelet mainstay celebrates the thrill of discovery which came as standard listening to new entries in series’ like X-Mix and DJ Kicks, moving between head-nodding downtempo, ambient techno, broken beat and all manner of chill-out room delights. You might be left wishing artists such as DJ 1999, Mental Trance and Eye Soul8r had actual discographies to go and explore, but as Astro himself is keen to point out, ‘nothing is real.’

Astro has never been shy to embrace classic tropes and tones in his past albums for Tartelet, Apollo and Ninja Tune, but he’s drawing on a different set of influences for this album and embracing the flexibility afforded by using imagined aliases for varied production styles.

‘I had the idea to do a mixtape, preferably with unknown dance tracks that also reflect that whole 90s/early 00s vibe,’ Astro explains. ‘Instead of digging for some records that haven’t been sourced yet or trying to find those forgotten treasures, I made the tracks myself. That way I had full control over BPMs, feel and the whole arrangement of tracks. I thought of a few alter egos and started producing the tracks in the order that I intended to play them in a mix. In the end a whole compilation of tracks emerged.’

While the concept might suggest you’re going to hear a lot of over-familiar sounds, don’t be fooled. Astro is inspired and inquisitive, channeling the experimental spirit of the 90s and early 00s when electronic music was still continually being redefined in all kinds of micro-scenes. In many cases, Astro’s productions slip into the cracks between genres rather than specifically mimicking a style.

Even if the reference points are detectable, the end result is a curious blend as indebted to ambiguity as the overall concept of the compilation. Like the spine-tingling sensation of hitting play and awaiting the waves of unknown sonics on one of those seminal mixes, you never know exactly what you’re going to get as you take the trip through “Nothing Is Real”.


Matt says: A brilliantly conceived project which sees Glenn attempt to recreate the halcyon sounds of 90s downbeat which he does with staggeringly authentic results. Light up a joss stick, roll up your finest indica a get fully submerged in this post-xtc glow.


A1. Glenn Astro & Mental Trance - Intro Track
A2. Glenn Astro & Crystalline Reality - The Growl
(crystalline Mix)
A3. Glenn Astro & Eye Soul8r - Autumn Subs
A4. Glenn Astro & Dj 1999 - The Abyss
B1. Glenn Astro & Brain Liquor - Jaque?
B2. Glenn Astro & Crystalline Reality - The Growl
(night Mix)
B3. Glenn Astro & Mental Trance - Mental Trance
B4. Glenn Astro & The Foundation - Steppers
Worldwide, Unite!
B5. Glenn Astro & Dj 1999 - Almost Pleasant

Tartelet Records present the debut album from Doc Sleep – 10 tracks of exquisitely rendered melodies and rhythms shaped with grit and beauty in equal measure. “Birds (in my mind anyway)” is a widescreen vision of electronica as a medium to express your personal situation and respond to your environment – a rave adjacent art form free from the perceived rules of the dancefloor. To date, Melissa Maristuen known as Doc Sleep has established herself in the context of the club – first engaging with the culture in San Francisco before moving to Berlin. She helps run the Room 4 Resistance party, DJs on Refuge Worldwide, co- owns the Jacktone label and has released on Detour, Dark Entries and her own label. But in making “Birds (in my mind anyway)” she set herself an ultimatum.

‘At the time of recording this album, my life, all my routines and priorities had to change – music was no exception. I decided if I couldn't be happy making an album free of the dancefloor, I was finally going to be done with music. Instead, I found a musical voice free of tempo and textural restriction. Eventually, I had a sound, and once I had the sound, the album came pretty quickly. It was a very different process writing music for no one...except myself.’

If the impression given is one of a consistent style across the album, think again. Doc Sleep moves freely between tempos and themes, even if there are some recurring qualities binding the music together. She weaves fluttering arps with poise, lending them an almost choral quality which gives the album a very human touch. But they’re equally emotionally ambiguous or pockmarked with sonic interference – reflections of the collisions and conflicts that typify the human experience.

Every inch of the album is a personal touch – the title was pulled from Doc Sleep’s mother’s response to hearing the album, while her friend Kiernan Laveaux offered a beautiful text which appears on the back. Those closest to her all fed into the artwork process, which captures the curious dichotomy between urban brutalism and botanical finery often found in the parks of Berlin – a vital place of respite when she was making the album.


A1 Fall Into Flowers (intro)
A2 Tomorrow Is Beautiful! (ft. Glenn Astro)
A3 Flooding Meadow
A4 C&l At The Sea
A5 Orange Grove Nap
B1 Wiped Memory
B2 Fog Vs Moon (ft. M Marie)
B3 Strange Sun
B4 Secret Spells
B5 Under High Branches

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