Released as the first edition of the “fake tape series” on the La Station Radar label out of France, what we have here is a deep and intensely concentrated blast of the superb quality jams from Neil Campbell under the Astral Social Club trademark. With an absurdly prolific nature, Campbell continues to mine the same vein of inspiration that has run through most of his recorded output (both as ASC and in previous configurations). It might be tough for the casual listener to know just where to jump in with Campbell’s body of work, and I’d argue this is a lovely starting point. Clocking in at 16 minutes, one might wonder if that’s long enough for the maximum transportation and hypnosis that seem to be Campbell’s calling card. I can safely assure you – no worries there. Within minutes, you’ll forget where you are and be lost in the blissful transcendence that he is able to conjure at whim. It’s really a masterful recording – building on analog synth and electronic moves mostly, with some guitar artfully placed in the mix, Campbell patiently builds layer upon layer of rhythm, texture, sonic grime, and mystery. The end result is both comforting and disorienting at the same time – exactly what I look for in this sort of music. It’s the oft buried pulse that draws me most into Campbell’s music, and this disc is no exception. Throughout the course of its single track, tremolo chugs, synth swoops, distant wailing sirens, and insistent yet off-kilter beats fight for airspace, yet it’s never an all-out battle and the listener always wins. And in the end, it’s Campbell’s phased out confusion that characterizes the aural experience best. During the last two minutes, things settle down a bit, and a state of pure sensory bliss is achieved.
This disc proves my growing hunch (fueled mostly by the amazing Kimberly Dawn label) that the 3” medium is both aesthetically intriguing and sonically rewarding while always leaving the listener wanting more. Campbell has crafted something incredibly addictive here, and I dare you not to hit repeat several times. Holding the disc and spinning it in gloriously loud hi-fi might also erase all your desire to download mp3s ever again. Excellent packaging too. Seek out the real thing this time – it’s worth it. Limited to only 50 copies, grab one now. 9/10 -- Eric Hardiman (24 March, 2010)