Four years on from Lay Llamas' Rocket Recordings debut Østro, the Italian-based astral-voyaging collective, led by Nicola Giunta - have manifested a revelatory official follow-up in the form of Thuban - a travelogue powered by a pan-global fascination with rhythmic hypnosis and an unquenchable experimental mindset. Following the departure of vocalist Gioele Valenti, Thuban is very much Nicola's brainchild, involving as many as 12 different musicians yet with him writing lyrics, singing, producing, mixing and recording at his home, whilst utilizing new instruments from marimba to sax to kalimba to pilot this craft to dimensions unknown.
The result has been a step beyond the kraut-damaged psychedelic mantras of Østro into a realm seemingly without boundaries, one in which a pan-global fascination with rhythmic hypnosis and an unquenchable experimental zeal manifests hermetically-aligned revelations aplenty. Thuban maps out terrain where collaborators including members of Clinic (on the sax-assisted ritualistic darkness of "Cults And Rites From The Black Cliff") and Goat (on the jubilant tropicalia serenade "Altair") can contribute to the air of earthy vibrancy and fertile exploration.
Moreover, Mark Stewart of The Pop Group's spoken-word contributions to the searing "Fight Fire With Fire" (styled by Nicola as ‘dystopian afrobeat') steers the album to new pinnacles of intensity informed by science fiction yet with explicitly political force. For all the outward exploration of its sonics, and even considering the excursions through inner space that they resemble, this is an album with its feet firmly on the ground in the here and now.