San Francisco Bay Area/Brooklyn quartet Late Aster has shared a new single, A Minor Fantasy. They also announced their debut EP, ‘True and Toxic,’ which will be out May 21 via Bright Shiny Things. In conjunction with the single the band has shared a video created by Four/Ten Media (Bryce Dessner/Steve Reich/Son Lux). Watch the video clip via YouTube below.
Discussing the single, the groups’ Aaron Messing stated, “This song is inspired by a Shostakovich piano prelude I listened to for years before attempting to learn. I thought the way the piece moves through the harmony would suit it well for an additional melody on top, which became the vocal melody. The prelude is in the key of A minor, which I eventually used as the name of the song, both because it describes the piece musically but also because read literally, it actually describes the meaning behind the words of the song: A dream-like state that is simultaneously exciting and ominous.”
“Working with Four/Ten Media was an obvious choice for this song because of their background as classically trained percussionists,” noted Anni Hochalter, regarding the video. “We wanted a team that was going to really understand how to feature the virtuosic beats written by our drummer Cameron LeCrone, as well as be experimental in visual aesthetic to capture the new sounds of electronics and brass. We combined two visual inspirations for the video – 1. Liquid lights created with layers of coloured mineral oil and alcohol placed over a projector lens and which produce changing colour patterns for a psychedelic effect. And 2. an early animated film that uses colour and silhouette cut-outs, called The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926).”
The members of Late Aster – Messing, Hochhalter, LeCrone, and Charles Mueller – all met while studying music performance in jazz and/or classical at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California. The quartet were quickly united by a love of experimentation, melding brass instruments with electronics, using forms and melodies influenced by popular music to push the boundaries between classical, jazz, pop, and rock. With their sound, Late Aster looks to draw out the intimacy and versatility of instruments commonly relegated to a passive, secondary role in rock music.
‘True and Toxic’ is a collection of musical sketches on the modern human condition. Focused on relationships, politics, science, and digital society, the songs string together disparate mediums and influences—digital and analogue, silicon and brass, composed and improvisatory—to create a soundtrack for the polarizing present. Each song is paired with visual accompaniment. Along with Four/Ten Media, the group collaborated with Deadeye Press, Harrison Atkins, and Kelsey Boncato.
‘True and Toxic’ track listing
1. The True and Toxic View
2. Can’t Say No
4. A Minor Fantasy
5. Hole in the Wall