Here are the only two vinyl releases from Vienna, Austria cult band Astaron. When I was in Vienna a few months ago, I found the LP for a couple euro. It looked interesting, but unfortunately the record store did not have a record player (or I didn't know how to ask in German if they had one... I forget) so I had to buy it and hope it was good. I had to wait 10 days before I would get home and listen to it, and the anticipation mounted each day. I bought almost 60 records in Austria, but this one above all others piqued my curiosity. It looked so ... promising; I would be disappointed if it was anything less than gloomy gothic perfection.
When I finally got situated at home, laid in bed, and heard the first crackles of the record give way to synths and organs and chants and hauntingly ethereal vocals, I knew that this would instantly become one of my all-time favorites. I've listened to it dozens of times now, and have not ceased to be entranced by its melancholy beauty. I loved it enough to order the EP, which I just received today and have decided to share with others.
The music ranges from dirgelike chants to ethereal darkwave to haunting ballads. The EP is a bit more cold/darkwave sounding, with danceable beats on all songs; the LP is all doom and gloom, especially from the song "In an Absence" on to the end. Elements of groups like Vyllies, Cocteau Twins, I'm So Hollow, Malaria, Kas Product, and early Danse Society can be heard throughout these releases. Many songs (especially on the EP) also remind me of stuff by more recent darkwave bands, especially The Vanishing and Autonervous.
As for this duo, it contains two girls, who are never named. I do know, through some research, that one of the members was Angie Morth, aka Angie Modepunk, one of the members of seminal minimal electronic/post punk band Viele Bunte Autos (whose entire catalog has been reissued on cd, and who can be heard on their myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/vielebunteautosmusik
Apparently Astaron also released at least one cassette, called Sarg Tape. If anyone can provide mp3s from this or anything else Astaron released, I would be forever happy. I simply cannot overstate how much I love the music this band produced.
Astaron: Selftitled LP
Ton Um Ton Records, 1987 (?)
|A1||Black Galley (2:58)|
|A2||Finale - The Burning (3:38)|
|A3||Little Girl Crying (2:16)|
|A4||St. John's Fire (2:34)|
|A5||As Time Joins In (4:13)|
|A6||Torch-Light Procession (5:20)|
|B1||In An Absence (4:57)|
|B2||Sea-Blue Ladies (4:44)|
|B3||Collecting Bones (5:14)|
|B4||The Slurring (3:50)|
(please note that the last two songs are saved as one song)
Astaron: Lance the Ensemble EP
Bugel Records, 1988
|A1||The Lance Ensemble (5:47)|
|A2||The Icequeen (4:21)|
|B1||Golden Carriage (5:27)|
Download both records here! - Link updated with NEW rips from mint records 1/16/12!