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Review of Astral Transmissions album by Stupid Cosmonaut

Stupid Cosmonaut are a 3 piece ambient / pysch band from Manchester, England comprising of Sam Read, Mark Hawnt and Steve McNamara. They all take an equal share in producing and writing the music using mostly hardware synths, guitars, bass and samples. I’ve recently reviewed a couple of their previous releases – Salvia single and Abstract Concepts album.

This is an excellent album, there’s some superbly created sounds with great evolution of soundscapes in each of the songs. There’s a jam feel at times and often contrast between ambient / uptempo parts and also with drones which gives an edgy sound at times.

AT1 Fermium
The song opens with a drone against a quote which sits in the background, the choppy sounding rhythm of the bass drum adds a great element. Evolving sounds emerge, some in the background others more upfront. There’s great movement in the distorted percussive sounds with a really nice edge of tension at times. The kick takes on a more urgent rhythm as tension builds with a final release.

AT2 Ununtrium
Excellent synth sound effects to open with a slightly distorted kick. There’s a distorted / bitcrushed sound that adds a great tension. I really like the feedback and delayed effects. It’s a really edgy sound with great build and release of tension through the song.

AT3 Hassium
This song has an excellent edgy opening with distorted bassline and great synth sound effects. There’s great use of feedback and a really nice distorted synth lead and the song has kind of a prog rock sound but with a modern feel. The drumming pattern sits really low in the mix, in the background almost, giving a subtle momentum. Really nice evolution to the sound.

AT4 Curium
Nice Stab chord sound over the quote to open, evolving drone and riff gives a great contrast. The song has quite an ambient feel with some excellent swirling background sounds and drone elements.

AT5 Dubnium
The opening drone gives a great soundscape with the quote in the background, the drum beat gives a great momentum. The background sounds evolve and swirl adding a great element contrasting really well against the more uptempo drum pattern. There’s a great release to a more ambient section with a drumming pattern returning to give great momentum to a final release.

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