Blackest Ever Black presents To Make A Fool Ask, And You Are The First, the latest - and, for us, greatest - full-length entry in Ashtray Navigations' uniquely important, uniquely sprawling – possibly sentient and self-multiplying – discography.
It picks up where the nerve-damaged exotica of 2015’s A Shimmering Replica left off...acerbic “surf” guitar and synthetic salt-breeze fit for the Tropic of Yorkshire. Instant immersion in a potent, pungent psychedelia that feels equal parts cosmic and aquatic. What Todd wrenches out of his instrument these days is a language unto itself (perhaps it always was)... a helical, ecstatic, grieving howl...a (super)natural efflorescence, beyond earthly description or transcription...ur-rock and post-everything. But equal emphasis is given here to pulsating machine rhythms and lush keyboard textures, with killer contributions from longtime fellow traveller Mel O'Dubhshlaine.
There were pre-echoes of all this in the recent(ish) Fluctuants and Aero Infinite: but To Make A Fool feels like the culmination, or the fullest expression, of something which was only glimpsed in those earlier works. The side-long ‘Spray Two’ - gently eddying string-pads gradually slashed to all f***k with fraught piano improvisations - is a masterpiece in its own right. At its delirious peak, the whole thing boils over into brooding, arpeggiated noir-techno – Michael Mann's steadicam roaming Leeds' B-roads, some kind of tangerine nightmare - before finally cooling into a bleary starfield of pure and sumptuous hypno-tone. This LP is a trip, in the most skull-splitting, soul-crinkling sense of the word, but it soothes and heals as well. A circular and transformative journey to the other side of the underneath and a landmark recording from one of the most adept and visionary nodes in Britain's freakout underground.
released November 17, 2016
All sights and sounds by Phil Todd
Cover photo and rhythms on first two tunes by