Welcome back to the regular edition of ‘Office Hours,’ where school is in full swing and fall weather is finally just around the corner. A great deal of quality chip music has released over the past six weeks, and today I have the privilege of reviewing a brand spankin’ new release from For Astronauts and Satellites titled ‘Then, By the Light of Our Own Creation.’
Released on September 12th via chipmusic netlabel extraordinaire Cheapbeats, ‘Then, By the Light of Our Own Creation’ is an ambitious blend of traditional chip sounds combining seamlessly with guitars and live drums to create a lush, inviting sonic landscape. Formed in 2013, For Astronauts and Satellites [F.A.A.S. henceforth] are a post-rock trio from London whose members have been playing together in various incarnations since 2002. One of my favorite things about this album is the way that the Game Boy and Commodore 64 blend seamlessly with the live instrumental elements in all six tracks. Many musicians who blend chip sounds with live instruments attempt to give equal attention to each layer, but often end up with somewhat unbalanced textures, such as ‘guitar solo + Game Boy percussion’ or ‘chip sounds crazygonuts + one guitar chord.’ F.A.A.S. appear to have mastered (no pun intended) a true balance between these disparate elements, and I would love to hear how the group handles these challenges in a live setting! Rest assured that the next time my wife and I are in London, we’ll be looking these lads up and hoping for a show.