With a title like "Journey Through Astral Projection," you pretty much know this ain't gonna be some Katy Perry bubblegum pop. Expo 70 is an American outfit comprised of main man Justin Wright, who plays atmospheric 70's style guitar a la Manuel Gottsching and early Tangerine Dream, along with vintage synths like Moog and Crumar and drum machines. On this album, Wright is joined by Matt Hill on bass, analog drum machine, and Crumar synthesizer. Expo 70's style is best described as lo-fi/low tech space music, in that they use lots of older and more stripped down recording gear and techniques. It's rough around the edges, but still manages to dazzle with ethereal beauty.
Expo 70's releases have mainly been via cassette and vinyl, with occasional CDR's, and very few proper CD releases. "Journey Through Astral Projection," comprised of four long tracks, is one of those proper CD's, released in 2010 on the Immune label. The mini-LP jacket packaging and psychedelic 60's hallucinogenic cover art add a nice touch to the music contained within.
Album opener "Trajectory Rhythms" fumbles around with some strummed chords, choppy drum machines, and what sounds like someone tuning up a bass before rather quickly getting into a hypnotizing Ashra/Gottsching-like groove, with mantra-like guitar plucking and apreggiated notes filtered through various effects. Anyone into Gottsching's "Inventions for Electric Guitar" will like this quite a bit. Second track "Seven Serpents" utilizes a heavy organ drone sound and distorted guitar chords over the top; some of the chords remain stretched out for minutes and turn into a long fuzzy drone. Track 3, "Growing Mushrooms of Potency" is a heady brew (no mushrooms required) harking back to early Tangerine Dream classics like "Alpha Centauri," "Zeit" and "Atem" with experimental outer space sounds, echoed blips, and stratospheric guitar textures a la Edgar Froese. Final track "Heartfelt Moon Tripper" is probably the most atmospheric piece, harking back to the quieter moments on Gottsching's "Inventions."
Some of the music at times seems rather too "lo-fi," only to have some absolutely gorgeous sound come out of the speakers and make up for it. For those into the 70's experimental krautrock sound, this album should provide plenty of sounds to salivate to and journey back in time.