Astral Industries follows its wonderful Chi Factory and Heavenly Music Corporation sets with a revival of Rod Modell and Chris Troy’s Waveform Transmission project. Existing at a slight remove to the bassline-driven dub stylings of Modell’s better known Deepchord and cv313 incarnations, W.T. - appearing here for the first timce since 1996 - represents instead an intense, intrepid voyage into Isolationist ambience and sublimely lush aqua-techno abstraction.
Music in this mode isn't uncommon - the £1 Electronic bins of used CD stores across the world are testament to that - but executed to this standard it’s incredibly rare. Each of the four pieces is exactly 18 minutes along, gets its own side of 180g vinyl, and justifies it. ‘V 2.0-2.1’ is at first nothing but amniotic bliss, a tour of the cities of crystal that Momus glimpses “in a few grains of smack”. But as it unfolds, a heavy, grieving, PTSD vibe starts to assert itself; scar tissue at the periphery of the luminous, high-def dream-vision. String and choral pads that are gossamer-light but seem to bear the weight of the world, drones as waves of resonating sadness. Warm inside but cold all over...the sudden shivering suspicion that this ecstasy, as :zoviet*france: would have it, is Just An Illusion. Some echoes too of Lustmord and Rich's Stalker, recent Basinski, and of course the Chain Reaction gear that laid the foundation for everything Modell's ever done.
While ‘V 2.2-2.3’ has the green glow of the fourth world, more rainforest than sea floor, for the most part this is a record of decidedly oceanic melancholy…as blue and unknowable as Eno/Budd/Lanois’s The Pearl, a treasure all the more precious for being just out of reach. By ‘V 2.8-2.9’ the rapture of discovery has given way to the realisation that this paradise might in fact be purgatory. Lost at sea? Aren't we all, dear.