Ashtray Navigations - Spray
Memoirs of an Aesthete. 1-800-55555. CDR
Typing 1-800-55555 into an internet search engine I thought I’d find a link to one of those phone lines where you ring up some bored tart in an edge of town industrial unit who talks dirty to you till you’ve cum in your tissue for £10 a minute. Instead I found Spray in the Prog Archives website. I’d argue that you could have found it in the Spaced Out Jazz website too but I don’t think there is one. There definitely should be but thats for another time.
With his shoulder bag full of goodies Phil Todd dishes his wares out at gigs like the child catcher dishing out spice in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but instead of ensnaring kids with sweet teeth he finds the likes of me in his way almost accidentally but not quite who holds each one to trembling breast awaiting the moment of insertion.
So I played it a couple of times and couldn’t really get in to it. Which isn’t like me when it comes to Ash Nav releases but yesterday was New Years Day and after eventually throwing myself out of bed some time after noon and staggering downstairs to try and make hot beverages that would stay down I threw myself into the Poang with a big pile of review material. Its the perfect way to listen. Half dead through excess, your attention focuses only on the music, no TV, no books or magazines, just you and the headphones and hours of music until the body begins to return to normal.
It was then that Spray began to works its magic.
Its standout track is its last and longest. The title track. A cross between Martin Denny, Herbie Hancock circa Sextant and Patrick Moore playing the xylophone. Its got an echo-y phased keyboard, interstellar shooting stars spiraling towards Alpha Centauri, bongos and a very deep stoned out of your head vibe to it. All 20 minutes of it.
‘Bubba O’Meiser’ [the opener] is a short five minutes worth of someone playing a glass harp with beads for strings that morphs into a tabla driven beat with huge swathes of synth wash lathered atop it all. And then we’re in more familiar Ash Navs territory with ‘The Awful Backlash’ in which the Toddmiester cranks up the six string with some Neil Young in Dead Man lost in the desert back chords over which he wrings out some choice high end neck squealers.
This is the your man flying solo ‘all sights and sounds by Phil Todd’ as it says on the sleeve. A joyous journey. Neither Prog, Kraut, Jazz or tiki tavern gone sour but somewhere in the midst of it all. LS6 wares hewn from chip fat and crushed beer cans. Phil Todd strides Leeds like a colossus.
By six o’clock last night I was a blissed out tea smoking, finger cymbal loving, Cecil Taylor acolyte searching eBay for bell bottomed trousers whilst checking that The Duncan hadn’t burnt down. There’s only Ashtray Navigations that can do that to a person.