Astro Nautico's Photay Strings Together A Unique Debut Album

September 22, 2014 -

Ian Miller

With two killer singles released throughout the summer, Astro Nautico's Photay has finally dropped his self-titled album.  "Photay" takes an interesting approach when it comes to the structure of the album; two singles, surrounded by essentially a four-song EP, followed by three bonus tracks, and finally a radio edit of his single "Reconstruct (feat. Seafloor)".  Call it a little D-I-Y, but I think it's a lucrative way of showcasing one's musical talents on a multitude of stylistic and skill levels.  The project opens with "Detox", a tasteful experimental track packed full of Photay's signature warbled synths and vocals arranged in an Aphex Twin-like way.  "Reconstruct (feat. Seafloor)" is the next track, certainly a drastic change from the album opener, but staying in the same key works here for Photay, as well as cleaning up those vocals and adding some soulful organic horns.  "No Sass" is the second single off the album, and perhaps THE song to know when it comes to Photay.  Give it thirty seconds -- no, less, and the wonkyness Photay's known for comes in full force in the form of a certified hip-swinger.  The following three songs have more in common with the opening track (besides sharing a dapper head-shot of the artist himself Mr Shornstein), eschewing vocals for the most part and focusing on the eclectic compositional skills of an artist like Photay.  "Static At The Summit" uses chords that make me think of vaudeville chipmunk trap that's vaguely reminiscent of something akin to Ryan Hemsworth, and "These Fruits These Vegetables" would fit perfectly in a funky island beach carnival.  His sixth track, "Illusion of Seclusion" scales things back and brings in some of the experimental elements from the opening track, this time placing it behind a steady backbeat including shakers, bells, and congas.  The next three tracks are marked "(Digital Bonus)" and remind me more of beats; simpler compositions prominent among Soundcloud users and often the jumping off point for their popularity.  "Dusk" is a tribal influenced with a chillout vibe, "Chrome" takes Latin percussion, and disco bass lines and smashes them together for (in my opinion) the sleeper best track on the release.  Total gold from an unassuming Digital Bonus!!  His final bonus track "Astral Projection" brings things back to the beginning in a way, beat-less and experimental, it solidifies Photay's ability to bring some thought-provoking sounds into the mix.  Finally, his Radio Edit of "Reconstruct (feat. Seafloor) comes with a fuller vocal verse and those same catchy progressions, proof that his affinity for pop music is as strong as anything this musical genius can do.  Happy Listening!

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