Laika, The Astro-Hound is a great name for a band. Sean T Jackson’s project was named out of childhood wonder and terror at the idea of the first creature ever sent into space, alone, to die. I’m not quite sure where he got this thought from but apparently it kept him up at night. He recently released a ten-song album entitled Naturalism (Astro-Songs 001), which is a dark album that isn’t for the faint of heart. The recording quality isn’t very good; in fact some of the songs such as “Always” that was recorded with a smartphone is basically unlistenable. The album is hit-and-miss throughout.
The album kicks off with an instrumental piece entitled “1” but also sets up the mood for the rest of the tracks. Jackson combines a dry sounding drum kit and delayed electric piano to create a dismal ambience. The track goes on for about a minute too long before it transitions into one of the highlights entitled “Feeling Sound.” It’s a slow song that ponders existential questions. He asks, “What do we do? Where do we go? The answer is for nobody to know.” Jackson doesn’t have a great singing voice to begin with but some better treatment in post-production would have helped.
“Structural Phasing” revolves around dancing keys that got layered with an ominous sounding chainsaw synth. I enjoyed the dichotomy. I’m not sure what Jackson was thinking with the bass drum at times on “Dark Days.” It’s oddly implemented but just sounds off beat.
The last quality song on the album is “Outspoken Word Poet” after that the recording quality was too bad for me to enjoy the songs. The lesson here is that you shouldn’t record music with your phone.
The first half of this album is dark but marginally enjoyable while the second half leaves a number of things to be desired. To his credit the music he is making is original. If he can improve the recording quality and get a bit more savvy with production techniques he should be on to something.
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