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”.
STAFF COMMENTSMatt 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
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
B3. Glenn Astro & Mental Trance - Mental Trance
B4. Glenn Astro & The Foundation - Steppers
B5. Glenn Astro & Dj 1999 - Almost Pleasant