Written by: Jordannah Elizabeth
The esoterically potent neo psychedelic band, The Asteroid No. 4 has returned with new album entitled, The Asteroid No.4. I can only guess why they waited this long to put out a self titled record, but I have an inkling that this album is the most personal collection of songs this band has released. Principal singer, Scott Vitt delivers every recorded vocal performance emotively and with sincerity. It is almost as if he is talking to someone, trying to explain something that he can’t quite put into words, but the combination of the music – the instrumental mood that all the members contribute along with the lyrics create an atmospheric soundscape at constructs a full and developed picture of whatever the band actually channels when they are writing and recording.
The album begins with The River, a simple and stripped down track that opens the entire album for interpretation as the lyrics go on about experiencing “the river of life”, which is a very broad and spiritual topic to explore. As that first track meanders and pulls you in, it quickly snaps right into the heavy, driving psych song, Rukma Vimana which is explained by Wikipedia to be “The Vaimānika Śāstra ( वैमानिक शास्त्र, lit. “shastra on the topic of Vimanas”; sometimes also rendered Vimanika, Vymanika) is an early 20th-century Sanskrit text on aerospace technology obtained by psychic channeling and automatic writing. It makes the claim that thevimānas mentioned in ancient Sanskrit epics were advanced aerodynamic flying vehicles, similar to a rocket.”
Asteroid always throws in an array of mystic and historical declarations and sonic interpretations of intense and/or new age philosophies. A fine example of this is the next track on the album, Ghosts of Dos Erres, which was a massacre that occurred in 1982 in Guatemala. The song is soothing and sympathetic and is touched with a short chant. Chanting is another artistic and elemental touch that The Asteroid No. 4 use in their works. It is always well done. The Windmill of the Autumn Sky is a classy, classic neo psychedelic track that breathes honest tones, and vulnerability. It is a beautiful Pink Floyd-esque (Meddle, if you will), track that seems to be latent with metaphorical meaning as and a deeper message. The song, Mount Meru is a trippy ode to the mystical mountain described as a mountain “being as a part of the Cosmic Ocean, along with several statements like that the Sun along with all the planets circle the mountain, make determining its location most difficult, according to most scholars.” I think it is safe to say that the album is so full of symbolism and historical and spiritual that the entire album can deceive you into thinking it is a tradition neo psych album that is only important because of it’s sonic properties but the album delivers so much more. Nonetheless, you have tracks like Back of Your Mind that will remind you that this band is an amazing and important rock and roll band. They do rock well, they just put their own twist on style that can be intriguing and a bit secretive.
Ropeless Free Climber, bounces back into the Vitorelli’s dream pop vocals that are clear and incredibly. His voice isn’t blown out from cigarettes, and the lack of damage to his voice allows him acute versatility to be able to sing over rock songs, and to effortlessly express himself on more stripped down acoustic ballads. That this a powerful to have. Ode to the Cosmos is a simple instrumental track that meanders on before the album ends on a heavy political stance with Revolution Prevail, and touches your psyche with the final track, Yuba. All in all the album is beautiful. The Asteroid No. 4 are more than a good band, they are polished and intentional with the recordings and live music. This album sounds like it was thought out and patterned to speak on levels and topics that are important to the artists. It’s rare that musicians choose to make a patterned statement and take the time to explore emotional, vulnerability and the undercurrents of life. The Asteroid No. 4 does just that.