Asta Rangu PlasticineDay 3 of our 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month madness comes from Dunedin’s Asta Rangu. It’s a song from a just-released 5-song EP called “Plasticine” and the song selected for today is the eponymous “Asta Rangu”:

Asta Rangu is the new music creation entity of Richard Ley-Hamilton. You’ll remember him from helium-powered surf-pop band Males, who combined their first two EPs and single on a release called “Run Run Run/ MalesMalesMales” in 2013 then followed that with an album “None The Wiser” a few years later, both of which are essential listens if you want to tune into Dunedin music in the mid-twenty-tens.

Apart from very usefully providing a pronunciation lesson on the band name, this song “Asta Rangu” sets out the modus operandi of this intriguing new music adventure. There’s enough of the exquisite pop-craft of its predecessors to retain fans from previous entities, while adding an additional array of aurally stimulating sounds, textures and ideas.  The change of dynamics at 2:50 here is sublime and the lyrics are also a treat to decipher, although “the more you know/ the less you believe”.

As well as the melodic generosity, the many twists and turns of “Asta Rangu” (and the whole of “Plasticine” for that matter) add a dusting of shoe-gaze psychedelia, plenty of progressive and powerful pop touches (especially on the blistering “Melancholics”) and some unexpected instrumentation, including a 12-string guitar, warbling piano and (on “Thin Air”) a sweetly distorted synth, to create something very very good indeed.

Asta Rangu_bandcamp