Daestro, Growers

This is a review for an EP I wrote a few months ago. It’s real solid record, and you can get most of this guys stuff for free on his blog. You can see this article on SCR here, and you can download this EP here.

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Deastro creator Randolph Chabot started recording songs in his parents’ basement in Detroit when he was in high school – the usual story of an optimistic young musician. The music he made in those formative years isn’t quite usual, though.  Full to the brim with dreamy synth sounds and samples of gurgling kids’ toys, Chabot created track after track of electronic glee that he released for free on his website and performed at countless hyperactive shows.  Quickly gaining a local and an online following, Deastro grabbed the attention of a wider audience when eMusic.com released Keepers, a compilation of his best-loved tracks, in 2008, and again when his song “Light Powered” appeared on Adult Swim’s and Ghostly International’s collaboration album, Ghostly Swim. Proceeding to release EPs and tour both with and without a band, Deastro has been churning out quality tunes for the past couple years, and his 2009 solo EP Grower is no exception.

Turn on the first track the entirely instrumental Grower, and you can pretty quickly see the appeal of his joyful, energetic brand of synth-pop. Bubbling up with high-pitched synth tones and wandering pianos, “Friends” starts off the 6-song EP sounding like a polished 80’s montage theme. With a cleaner feel than Deastro’s previous work (but with the same positive energy), Grower paints a picture of a lush pixilated landscape bursting with happy beats and video game tones. “Rouge River” has a sort of exotic character, with stuttering drums providing the background for smooth synthesized brass. It contrasts nicely against the 8-bit title track and “Guardian”, which both sound like they’re straight from a hip new version of Megaman.

But Chabot has been smart enough to not back himself into the narrow niche of the DIY-ethic, lo-fi electronic breed of music. With enough psychadelic fuzziness and indie pop influences to be accessible, Deastro has managed to comfortably straddle genres and their respective audiences with up-beat and off-center pop tunes.

As good as this EP is, it’s surprising how little feedback it’s gotten, especially considering it can be downloaded for free from the Ghostly International website (find the link just south of here). Go grab this up and then check out some more of Deastro’s recordings, especially his more recent EP Mind Altar, to get a taste of a truly talented and original young musician.

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