The OO-Ray | Astoria

 Cat: AB048
 Time: July 2013
 Media: Digital Download

 Info: The cello plays multiple roles in these tracks, from 
 percussion to bass to contralto, layered together to form 
 impossible ensembles through my use of looping, 
 pitchshifting, and reverberation.  Astoria is a confluence 
 of lullabies, hymns, and chamber symphonies into a 
 coherent and satisfying whole.  

 Artist site:

 PDF Press Release: Download

 01. Moments of Quiet Technicolor
 02. Andalucía
 03. Marzo
04. Autumn
05. Astoria
06. The Orrery
07. Sleep
08. Waveguide
09. Bubbaly
10. Gwageus
11. Chimes at Midnight
12. Palimpsests
VIDEO | Palimpsests



REVIEWS | Astoria

 It’s possible that within the acoustic instrument kingdom, the cello is uniquely suited to ambient music. While it can 
 be played with fiery fervor, its sad and throaty tone really comes alive when played with patience, long draws 
 of the bow coaxing out beautifully mournful sighs that drill into a listener’s heart. These sighs translate perfectly
 to an ambient pad structure; layer them and add touches of electronic texture and you’ve got Astoria, the new
 release from The OO-Ray. Ted Laderas began the pieces here as improvisations on the cello, then went back
 and fleshed them out with looping, pitch-shifting and distortion. The pieces range from ambient drifts like the 
 raspy “Autumn” and the softer-edged drones of  “Gwageus” to neo-classical infusions like “Palimpsest.” 
 Throughout, the pieces are thoughtful and emotionally dense. The somber tones of “Andalusia” contrast with 
 the somewhat familiar gypsy-dance melody that Laderas slowly metes out.”Waveguide” puts me in immediate 
 mind of Gorecki with its heart-wrenching cello line and minimalist approach. Laderas accents this lazy drift with 
 resonating, hard-struck chords. “Marzo” stands out for its comparatively upbeat tone, Laderas flicking his 
 strings in a pizzicato percussion. A clockwork beat rounds out the sound. The draw here, as with most electro-
 acoustic ambient, is how well the too-human organics mesh with the electronics, the rough against the smooth. 
 Laderas pulls it all off nicely, creating sound-sketches of feelings that we want to look deeply into, and which
  we understand at a gut level.

 It takes no time at all for the listener to be drawn into Astoria’s world when the cello’s deep groan appears 
 seconds into “Moments of Quiet Technicolor,” a dirge-like drone whose strings are propelled by the death knell of 
 a recurring pluck. In “Marzo,” Laderas builds up so many cello layers the instrument becomes a string orchestra, 
 resulting in a field of texture and melody that’s so rich and dense the effect is mesmerizing, while he elsewhere 
 conjures a shimmering fairy-tale world (“Gwageus”) and creates settings equally majestic and mournful 
 (“Andalucía”). Deep symphonic tones, more suggestive of organ and horns than cello, give “Sleep” a Wagnerian 

There is much to admire about this recording: first and foremost, the range of sound Laderas draws from the cello, with its upper and lower registers and percussive potential amply exploited, and with pizzicatto playing heard alongside the bowing (strikingly heard in “Bubbaly,” for example); and, secondly, the circumspection shown in having the twelve settings last only three- to four-minutes on average. Each piece appears just long enough to establish its own sound-world but then, having done so, exits. It’s truly remarkable to hear as luscious a set-piece as “Chimes at Midnight” be brought to life in just three minutes.
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