There is an increasing buzz following Richard Ley-Hamilton. The Dunedin musician who formerly fronted Males now takes his place with the solo project badged as Asta Rangu.
The five-track ‘Plasticine’ comes as his debut release on a newly lowkey independent Dunedin label, Trace/Untrace Records.
As Asta Rangu, Ley-Hamilton delivers noisy pop riffs littered throughout tracks craftily manifest with fantastical lyrics over dissonantly versatile chords. His fluid voice pulls like a piece of elastic, bending through falsetto and lower registers complementing the album’s movement through post-punk to early emo and psychedelic moods.
The single and opening track Skip On Trak One with its capering phrasing sets up the fluctuant motions that keeps ‘Plasticine’ an intimate listen. The movement in timbre keeps this record alive and interesting. The perfectly placed chaos shifts into warmer waters, but the current often changes at a moment’s notice.
The most interesting parts of the EP come when the songs are stripped back before a textural change, building up with a thrust of drum hits and guitar strums to enunciate layers of noise and notes embedded in the underlying tracks.
Piano melodies poke through like lights shining through cracks in the wall that Asta Rangu has built from layers of guitar fuzz. It’s intricately made but has a natural feel. A short-but-sweet initial release, the future bodes well for Asta Rangu, Trace/Untrace and their mark on the NZ indie scene.