THE ASTROBOY: The Chromium Fence (Pad-Online)


Posted on Jul 13th 2011 01:22 am

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The Astroboy: The Chromium Fence

The Chromium Fence
Pad-Online 2011
08 Tracks. 28mins35secs

Warm and lush analog synthesis on cassette. As far as retro is concerned, The Chromium Fence ticks a few boxes. The vision of Luis ‘The Astroboy’ Fernandes is inspired by futuristic tales, as many of the Phillip K. Dick-inspired titles on this release indicate, or at least futuristic as it was imagined twenty to thirty years ago, and interpreted with soundscapes and techniques that recall the early electronic music experiments of the likes of Tangerine Dream, Manuel Göttsching or Cluster.

Released on burgeoning artist collective imprint Pad Online, in a run of just 100 cassettes, The Chromium Fence is Fernandes’s third album, following A Derrota Da Engrenagem (Test Tube, 2007) and 090309 (Cobra, 2009), with which he experimented with drone formations built from analog sounds. On this latest offering, he expands his scope to incorporate progressive looped sequences which are layered with bubbling electronics. The overall structure of his tracks remain extremely minimal though and focuses primarily on sonic textures rather than on melody. Fernandes creates intricate vignettes, continuously adding layers until the respective pieces become dense pulsating soundscapes.

While the appearance of the majority of these tracks differs from pure drones, their electronic pulses and loops adding an element of rhythmic structure, the principle is in essence the same. Sounds are stretched over a whole piece and slowly consolidated. On Coordination Sphere, Radioisotopes or Electric Sheep, Fernandes develop a particular sequence around a synthetic loop and continues to add ethereal chords and progressive soundscapes through each of these pieces. On Cliffs, Fernandes is once again in the grip of a dense and slightly oppressive drone, cut are irregular intervals by miniature guitar segments, distorted noises or electronics fragments, before it eventually becomes wrapped up in a smoother solitary chord in its later part.

In between these two extremes, Fernandes distills a series of pieces which, while involving varying levels of electronics and occasionally rhythmic pulses, are more introspective. The Voight Score or Glow for instance as particularly effective atmospheric constructions, their soundscapes resonating with incredibly rich and details components, whilst The Chromium Fence later on comprises processed guitar and electronic textures which are, in a first instance, consolidated into an ever-changing soundscapes which is then purposely distorted to give it a much more rugged aspect. The album concludes with a :Papercutz remix of The Voight Score which turns the original into a much more ambitious cinematic piece.

The Chromium Fence feeds on Luis Fernandes’s undeniable fascination for old school science-fiction and the electronic experiments which often served as soundtrack. He creates here a somewhat vibrant and atmospheric piece which seems to simultaneously contemplate past and future.


The Astroboy | The Astroboy (Soundcloud) | Pad-Online

The Astroboy – Coordination Sphere from PAD on Vimeo.

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