Thanks to Giovanni Ansaldo’s convincing review on yesterday’s issue of Il Mondo podcast, my first Bandcamp purchase1 is the recently released Astral Gold album by Dean McPhee, a British guitarist who combines folk with experimental music and jazz using his telecaster guitar to create endless landscapes.

As the title suggests, McPhee’s latest album is a journey into outer space. The album consists of six instrumental pieces, all captivating, enjoyable, and cohesive; they all serve as each other’s natural continuation. Along with the sound of his guitar, the musician uses tape loops, small percussion sounds, and a few synthesizers here and there. The result is a hypnotic moonscape reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey2.

The album avoids easy psychedelia and opts for a more meditative approach while meeting expectations perfectly. Sometimes, it sounds like Brian Eno’s early ambient phase and the more dilated Tangerine Dream. Dean McPhee has created an otherworldly experience with just a few elements; minimalism is key.

  1. Look here for my recent Spotify tirade and how I decided to return to purchased music. ↩︎

  2. On a lateral note, this music would fit perfectly as an EVE Online soundtrack. I vividly remember my space pirate days in that game, exploring far away and unknown solar systems, looking for prey while listening to Jón Hallur Haraldsson’s incredibly immersive original soundtrack (McPhee is on another level, and the two genres don’t compare, but hey.) ↩︎