Garden of Astral Blooms is a visual album release which presents alien ecosystems. The audiovisual project was made by Columbus, OH-based new media artist Rew (‘roo’), and performed via livestream. Now available digitally or through a specially designed USB stick and 3D-printed art object, Garden of Astral Blooms is full of immersive environments of ruin and wonder, each one a distorted and strange celebration of nature’s beauty. These visions are practices in optimism, reverent poems to a planet that supports life and has a dizzyingly uncertain future.
Go to the Garden of Astral Blooms website to explore the audiovisual garden (eight videos): www.gardenofastralblooms.com
Diving headlong into these manufactured landscapes we see stained glass fractal structures replicate in “Sunlit Glass”, passageways with reproducing alien spores on “Outgrate”, monoliths and delicate wire structures replicate on a strange, barren landscape on “Scorched Earth”, volcanic eruptions and rockslides on “Crag” and amoeba-like creatures populate the aquatic “Fragile Abundance”. Taken in this way we get the full grasp of the world-building power of these compositions.
Musically, Garden of Astral Blooms stands alone. Deeply textural drones, incredibly deep sound design using FM synthesis and keyed-in melodic phrases recall the relationship between stasis and silence Hiroshi Yoshimura explored or the deeply ritualistic drones of Lucrecia Dalt. We also hear dark ambient undertones of Coil with the lightness and easy breath work of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – which shows up with beautiful resolve on “Fragile Abundance”. Taken alone Rew paints just as vividly with these otherworldly compositions. But taken together the project is a transporting way to lose an afternoon in.
Sunlit Glass - sharp shapes cut through a giant sphere of colored glass in a meadow
Outgrate - out the tunnel through the grate, away from the goo, higher above the ocean
Crag - around the mountain with glowing cracks, rocks burst and avalanche
Frozen Veil - industrial debris clutters an icy crater hanging in the sky
Pipelines - pillar silhouettes tremble in a dark room, pipes are lit from within
Tumbling Forward - under iridescent clouds, swirling chaos blankets fracturing jade trees
Scorched Earth - steel frame structures flicker behind luminous monoliths, charred ruins
Fragile Abundance - diffuse vocals sing to organisms that appear for a moment before disintegrating
"Throughout the album, Rew toes the line between tranquility and something slightly darker...It’s a fitting accompaniment to its extraterrestrial visuals: both familiar and discomfiting." - Bandcamp Daily
released January 29, 2021
Mixing and album cover art by Rew
Mastering by Ali Berger
Thank you to David for the awesome website for Garden of Astral Blooms, and for your generous emotional support through the whole thing.
to Galen for your care, hearing me vent, and encouraging me.
to Frances for supreme listening and lots of good walks.
to Keith Rankin, Lindsey French, and Roy Taylor for your feedback on the whole album.
to Ed at Vidicon, Alison Colman at The Fuse Factory, Robert at Pas Musique, and Sam at A Pizza Night for having me perform this via livestream.
to the Silent Screen Program for showing it on big outdoor LED screens in Denver.
to Phil Liddell (Otherworld) for 3D printing!
to Ryan Hall at Whited Sepulchre Records for your excellent job with the release.