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Andrew Ostler: Crossing The Line - 12" Vinyl LP

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“The sonic equivalent of enjoying a cigar in your leather-upholstered vintage car while hurtling down the autobahn. Unashamedly nostalgic for the polyrhythms of ’70s Berlin school, yet infused with contemporary drone sensibilities and lifted by soaring solo lines.”
- Milly Manet

Bucking the trend for setting up a complex generative modular synth patch and recording “one take, with no overdubs”, here each sound is patched, played, recorded, and torn down ready for the next one. Many layers are then painstakingly edited up into a coherent whole. On top of all this rides Andrew’s bass clarinet, processed, sometimes looped, but always adding a vibrant contrast to the churning machinery.

Though Andrew has put out many albums over the years, this is his first as simply “Andrew Ostler”, making this a particularly personal release, and one that reflects his own take on what electronic music can be in the third decade of the 21st century.

"Alongside releases under his Os moniker, Andrew Ostler is also one half of Darkroom, the electronic-leaning duo he formed with Michael Bearpark. The Edinburgh-based musician is also a builder of synths, and on 'Crossing The Line', it sounds initially as though he's using one constructed from old transistor radios and haunted seashells.
"However, as the FM turbulence and ghostly echo of the opening moments recedes, Ostler lays down lustrous synth layers that merge into waves of analogue chug, waxing and waning across the album's two titular long-form pieces. Punctuated by patches of irregular tumult, the balance between Berlin School polyrhythms and climactic sounds generates compellingly varied dynamics.
"At its most affecting, as on the motorik ebb and flow of the album's more urgent second half, 'Crossing The Line' recalls Baltic Fleet or Eat Lights Become Lights at their most radiant"
- Electronic Sound, Issue 83

"Last week I reviewed a CD ... and said it was along the lines of early Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze... The man behind the Expert Sleepers label, Andrew Ostler, works with similar inspirations but slightly different results. He says that he works with modular synthesizers, but not 'one, take, no overdubs', which is good news. "Here, each sound is patched, played, recorded, and torn down, ready for the next one. Many layers are then painstakingly edited up into a coherent whole." An interesting addition is the bass clarinet, which he plays, processes and sometimes loops. I must admit I had not heard the bass clarinet in the two side-long pieces of music here, simply part 1 and part 2 of the album's title. The cosmic element is within the bouncing arpeggio, which runs through most of these two pieces of music. On top of those rhythmic lines (... I'd say Ostler dispenses with the use of drum machines), there are some big fat drone melodies spread around. 'Part 1' opens dreamily and spacious, but soon locks in the various lines, and then the spaceship takes off, in the second half drifting in orbit, looking and searching. Now the music is a sea of uneasy tranquillity. 'Part 2' opens with the drones that will stay for pretty much the rest of the piece. There are traces of arpeggio's here, but it needs time to kick of full time. When they do, the piece is flying until the end. I am a big fan of the Berlin School (well, not too openly, of course), and I am very impressed by Ostler's work here. It all sounds great on vinyl"
- Vital Weekly #1308 www.vitalweekly.net/1308.html