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The first words said when we stepped on the moon were “Contact:Light” (yes, right before “It’s one small step for man...”). These words are now the title for the debut album for Melbourne-based Kurt Eckardt’s Astral Skulls.
Our first meaningful venture into outer space and our ongoing fascination with the extraterrestrial is at the core of Contact:Light. Split into two distinct settings over two sides – Earth and outer space – Contact:Light centres on the push and pull of dreamstate and reality, how one affects the other and the intriguing territories their intersection conjures.
The otherworldly spaces of synth-pop and Krautrock are touchstones for Astral Skulls, but moreover, Contact:Light is the raw, mesmeric, dissonant art damage of Suicide cast into Australian suburbia. Scabrous guitars play against prowling synths and the barest of drum patterns - the industrial gears these songs grind on also recall the DIY punk approach of seminal Australian outfits such as Primitive Calculators and Severed Heads, tackling an unholy marriage of technology and life.
Eckardt’s DIY approach with Astral Skulls stems from his history living in Sydney where he did time in punk outfit Say Cheese And Die, and co-presented many crucial shows insupport and exposure of that city’s diverse underground. Astral Skulls really took shape when Eckardt moved to Melbourne-via-Brisbane, however, and it’s especially his new home of Preston that’s proven to be a great inspiration for Contact:Light, written while
walking its streets beaming his sci-fi mind on its nightscape. (an early Astral Skulls track, Impreston, is a friendly rejoinder to Courtney Barnett’s now-famous Depreston)
With the added coup of securing Jonathan Snipes of Sub Pop experimental noise-rap trio
clipping. to mix the set for killer crunch, Contact:Light is both a magnetic and brutal entry into Australian music’s singular landscape.