From time to time, we shine the spotlight on a SoundGym member by reviewing one of their releases for our Music Spot feature. In this review, we take a look at Andrey Shein’s folktronica project, Astroshein and his single ‘Imagine’.
Shein is an astronomer and producer based in Kostroma in Russia and he explains that his two interests often bleed together, giving his music a ‘space vibe’.
Shein has wide-ranging musical tastes and aims to mix ethnic motifs from all over the world with a modern, synthesised sound. He invites the listener to move “to different parts of the planet by pressing the play button”. New single, ‘Imagine’ is not as imbued with a world music sound as previous singles such as ‘Sand Hill’ or ‘Kioto’, in fact it’s almost a straight-ahead retrowave track until the vocals kick in at the half way point, which add just a taste of the world music flavour that saturates his other work.
While this track is a departure from Astroshien’s previous work, the producer clearly has a feel for this type of music. As the track unfolds, it's evident that he has a firm grasp on the thematic elements of retrowave, utilising vintage synth sounds, gated reverbs, and arpeggiated patterns to great effect.
This is a genre that is built around nostalgia – for an era that often wasn’t even experienced by the producers crafting this sound – and Shein taps into that effectively. From the intro onwards, the track instantly conjures images of neon-soaked cityscapes and vintage arcade games. The choice of instruments and textures is spot-on, capturing the essence of the '80s synthwave era.
Shein showcases an understanding of the genre's signature sound that invites the listener to drift into a bygone era.
The track has a smooth and solid production, vintage reverbs and delays are used to great effect, adding a nice feeling of depth to the track; this really helps in invoking the dayglo 80s soundscape.
The mix is clean and punchy; the beats refreshingly modern but working comfortably in this context. It would have been interesting if Shein could have incorporated a wider palette of world music sounds into this track; perhaps imbuing it with more of his distinctive and characteristic sound.
However, this seems to be his first experiment in this direction and it’s an undoubted success. It will be fascinating to see how he integrates his wide range of influences into his future work.
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