A>S>H>S, Audible Stellar Hypnotic Situations

A>S>H>S, Audible Stellar Hypnotic Situations

The boys in A>S>H>S have been grooving around Houston for about a decade now, recently releasing their first album Audible Stellar Hypnotic Situations. Their instrumental sound has an electronic/jazzy/funk feel to it, peppered with turntables and saxophones; think Thievery Corporation dabbling in trance music. Or a really good porno soundtrack. Dark trip-hop overtones hold the album together, and the sound is surprisingly mature and polished for a debut release.

This music works well in the background (desk job, anyone?), and midway through the CD, my left toe caught the bug and started tapping; a good sign. Congo drums add a little jungle flair to a few tracks and provide some earthy contrast to the predominantly electronic vibes. Turntables scratch around most of the songs, and the song “Nova” adds some levity with a few Clark Griswold samples (“Excuse me, holmes?”). The standout track, “Lost,” showcases machine-gun snares and nebulous space soundscapes, with a drawly saxophone right at the peak.

Most of the songs are over eight minutes long, giving all the members a chance to show off. With no prominent melody in most tracks, these jams and solos drive the album. The variety of instrumentation and talented musicians gives A>S>H>S plenty of room to play around onstage live. Don’t worry about band chemistry, either; the last two tracks were improvised in-studio and sound solid.

This type of music is usually appropriate for the club scene and upscale lounges, at least somewhere where guys need a button-down. A>S>H>S, however, owns and often performs at their own warehouse southeast of downtown Houston. According to their Website, the performances there “showcase live suspension rituals, fire breathing robots, and fire dancers with raw unadulterated music.” Holy shit. Drinks, robots, space-beats, and fire? Yes, please.

(self-released; A>S>H>S -- http://www.ashs.us/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, February 1st, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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