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The Weirding

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 23, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

No Description Available.
Genre: Popular Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 23-JUN-2009
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 23, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: June 23, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • ASIN: B00279DLEY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,624 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a serious old-school progger (I am not a big fan of prog with hyphens, like "prog-metal" or "neo-prog" or "crossover-prog" or whatever), I am very picky about what passes off as prog today. To me, it necessarily means at least some long songs, some degree of instrumental prowess or at least creativity and exploration, the use, generally, of old-school synthesizers, mellotrons, electric pianos, etc. I realize this is not everyone's definition but by way of introduction, it is mine. Astra has made a very classic-sounding prog record here (down to the sound, which is NOT "bad" as some have characterized it, just not "modern" in the sense of being overly compressed, overly loud, overly processed, and overly overdubbed---it's a good, clean, early 70s sounding record). The songs are good, with lots of melody in both the vocals and the instrumental parts, some nice, spacey jamming (Astra is more, say, Pink Floyd or Caravan than they are Genesis or Yes, in this respect), and delicious use of some Moogs and Mellotrons. In some parts too, in evokes Black Sabbath's more prog moments (let's not forget that in England they were on the Vertigo label initially). Sure, it's derivative----that see-sawing Mellotron part in the title track is an inversion of a similar one in King Crimson's "Cirkus", "Beyond to Slight the Maze" is a rewrite of parts of Pink Floyd's "Echoes"----but that's kind of the point of the band, to evoke a particular period and style of rock that many of us love, and that few bands play today. If you dig "Meddle", "In the Court of the Crimson King", and late-60s Moody Blues, I think you'll really enjoy Astra. Support an up-and-coming band---remember that many of our faves did not make their masterpiece records until their 3rd or even 4th try (e.g., Genesis, Yes). Enjoy "The Weirding" now, and let's see what these San Diego boys can come up with next!
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Format: Audio CD
If you like early 70's prog rock like Kansas, ELP, Camel,Eloy, Early Genesis, you'll most likely enjoy this.
Loaded with analog keys, and smooth guitar playing, this is a good cd to close your eyes and drift away with the music. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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The Weirding was recorded in a garage, and sounds like it. But if you are into 70's Prog rock, this should add to the aura. Astra's freshman attempt is mesmerizing in a nostalgic sort of way for those of us who were alive in the 70's and loved the progressive music of the day with it's melloton induced head spins. We saw no reason for it to disappear. It's nostalgic, only because it did disappear... for the most part. With a new generation, perhaps it's back, and here to stay, for a whole new generation to enjoy without having to have glimpses of the past. Astra's "The Weirding" is a bold attempt to slice into that not so musical mayhem that is Brittney Spears and 50 cent. An attempt to bring real music to the fore and perhaps musicianship to our ears. My only complaint.... the drums are bit lacking and are monotonous and annoying.
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In my opinion, this is a work of pure genius! Astra has managed to create a recording that manages to sound as if it was created around circa 1972. Some may have the opinion it was just recorded badly. I feel it was recorded this way on purpose. ("Flangeing" on the drums is not an accident of bad recording.)The music has a sound and feel equivalent to the Pink Floyd "Meddle"/"Obscured by Clouds" era with sounds also reminiscent of Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust""; Genesis' first album and Trespass; and Hawkwind's "Hall of the Mountain Grill". Not satisfied with just the style and feel of the music they managed to duplicate the sound of recordings from the same time period!

With all their flaws, these recordings from the 70's had their own unique sound. It is really hard to describe unless you pull a vinyl album from the time period and listen to it before it was "remastered" onto CD. With big improvements in dynamic range and stereo separation they still had not yet perfected keeping other instruments from bleeding over into other instruments. Microphones were hung over amps, and the amps were cranked up so they naturally picked each other up. Drums, often, were not isolated so they just bled into everything. "Reverb", was added to vocals and anywhere else it sounded "cool". The result was not a muddy sound but a warm fused together sound, completely unlike to sterile sound of today. It just kind of envelopes you.

The music will not be to everyone's liking. Songs are long, half over 10 minutes, and have a real space rock, psychedelic, sound to them. Extended guitar and keyboard solos are the norm. Songs change and evolve. This is real dim the lights, put on the head phones, fire up the incense and lava lamps stuff here. If you can put on Pink Floyds "Meddle" and relish in it then Astra will take you back to that good place.
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Format: Audio CD
There's a very rare sound, a rare groove that few bands touch. Astra oozes it copiously. This album has the kind of music I have had in my head and been looking for all my life. I was lucky enough to see them live as well, and seeing the title track played live was like being transported back to the early 70's and hearing this sound for the first time. I had always wished that I'd seen some of the great original psychedelic bands, and Astra taps into that sound extremely well. I was very surprised when I saw them loading up their gear after their set and the Mellotron was digital! It was set in a case to make it look like one of the old analog ones. It sounded rather authentic.

But, more about the album...
The Weirding feels like a form of transport. It takes you simultaneously to far, fantastic worlds and deep inner places. I know how cheesy that sounds, however, it's very rare that an album can simply fill you and move you. There needs to be much, much more of this in the world.
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