The last Ash Nav album, A Shimmering Replica, dove into the kind of shimmering waves and whirlpool psychedelia that fills out their latest, but never to these depths. To Make A Fool Ask, And You Are The First stands at the edge of the wormhole and contemplates the inevitable plunge. Phil Todd, here with his oftentime collaborator Mel O’Dubhshlaine, boils Kosmiche in a manner that suggests he’s got a direct line to the cosmic source, foaming and frothing his way through synth nodes hard pressed to contain the oddly pulsing gamma waves that radiate from within. The two tip the scales into churning absolution well before they make it to a twenty minute closer that evaporates everything it touches into the cold ether of night.
Its been a banner year for some deep space synth tinkering, but even heavies like Hauschildt are having a hard time keeping up with the sonic salve that Phil Todd lays down in excess over two thick sides of aural quiver. That side-long closer on side two is no small feat, by the way, “Spray Two” starts out on the same sonic flood plane that the rest of the album visits, before sprinkling in doses of piano improvisation to the mix, taking the cold isolation of space to a more contemplative place and melding jazz to cosmic synth skillfully. The album is certainly a highlight for Ashtray Navigations, and in a catalog that’s admirably ambitious, it stands to push Todd’s vision further than ever before.
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