REVIEW: Deastro - "Moondagger"
Zach Hart Thursday, July 02, 2009
Allow me if you will to copy and paste and excerpt from the Ghostly International website about Deastro’s Moondagger: “When Randolph Chabot, the 22 year-old auteur behind Deastro, is asked about the title of his new album, he recounts a dream about a prince, a kingdom, an evil King of Darkness, and a search for the mythical “Moondagger,” the bearer of which wields ultimate power.”
As you explore the depths of Moondagger it helps to keep this dream in mind. Not only does it ground the listening experience a bit in “reality” but it also makes for an extremely exciting listen; after all, how could you not want to listen to something that was inspired by kings of darkness and magical weapons?
I would like to offer a word to you, dear reader: celestial. That is the word that seems to fit the best when describing Deastro’s music. I am perfectly aware that what we are listening to is electronic music or electronic pop or whatever but Moondagger transcends that somewhat vast genre. Each song has this layered feel to it; movement after synthed movement is piled on forming individually epic (in their own way) songs. When I first heard opener “Biophelia” I thought for a minute that I was about to rock out to some sort of video game. In fact, that is part of the glee I get when listening to Deastro. After hearing Chabot’s debut Keepers I pictured some sort of ship flying through space passing planets and shooting lasers and vanquishing aliens. Weird, huh? Sorry, at times I have a hyper-vivid imagination. When Moondagger opened up I yet again felt that I was in for that same 8-bit ride. However, I realized that the scope for this album was more than what I was to initially believe. That is where this concept of “celestial” comes in. Yes, it is true that the sweeping and brilliant moments of electronics and syths that fly throughout the bulk of the album are something worthy of being bright and colorful like stars and planets.
There are also moments here that cause us to become more introspective. Like a barely visible star or a cloudy nebula there are quieter moments among all the epic grandeur. The standout “slow” track for me is the album closer “Kurgan Wave Number One” which feels like a moment to catch your breath and push all the air back in your lungs after having climbed so high in the past eleven tracks. That might take care of the obvious but the lyrics range from the visions of Chabot’s “moondagger” dream to more deeply introspective moments. It is a nice trade off. You don’t feel like you are being bludgeoned to death all the time with computer noises. In fact, I feel that the frantic tracks “Moondagger” and “Vermillion Plaza” have a sort of stealthy dream pop attitude towards them. It might just be me but that is how the album catches you as a whole. You really have to allow yourself to be put on this space ship of an album. Each song represents a new moment to look out your window and say “wow” (except in audio form) and each individual will be left with a different impression.
If you are a fan of deep and varied electronic pop Moondagger is for you. The same goes for those of you who like their music on the dreamier side. Don’t be deceived by the frantic and loud nature of what is first presented to you. Like I said, this album has a lot of layers for you to peel over and digest. As a final and side note, there is one thing that makes me undeniably happy while listening to this album and that is the inclusion of “The Shaded Forests (Gift Giver’s Version)”. “The Shaded Forests” is a perfect song and was on Deastro’s first album Keepers. More or less I suggest you listen to the original because it encapsulates the epic and celestial (yes I use that a lot) nature of what I like about Deastro’s work. Here, though, we get a remix and it is, like the subtitle suggests, a gift. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this remix because it strips away a couple layers from the original but maintains the deeply emotional and sweeping feeling I get from the song every time I hear it proving that Deastro isn’t just about the music but about the feeling. So, in other words, I really suggest you check this album out; it is one of the most pleasant and unique albums to come out this year.