Praguedren, Aurora Australis

Trippy dub duo Praguedren launch themselves into space on their recent release, Aurora Australis, and the result is…well, trippy space dub. Having gotten used to their resin-coated, smoke-shrouded psychedelia, hearing Praguedren take on softer ambient drifts came as a very pleasant surprise. The dub trappings certainly haven’t been dispensed with entirely–the title track vibrates and wobbles with tremolo and wavering echo in a pleasantly head-messing way. But it does get cut loose in spots in favor of beat-free, dreamy flows like the closer, “Falling Upward.” This track shows, in classic soft ambient style, that these two can step well out of their comfort zone and still pull it off. A warm, inviting track of horizon-stretched pads. The real draw, though, is on those pieces when the two sides mesh easily together. Check “Neon Green Skies,” which moebius-twists its way smoothly from long, pipe-organ-feeling pads into a clubby/dubby vibe with snappy beats and back again. It’s a cool, nicely orchestrated blend that clearly marks Praguedren’s course for this release. The next track, “Polarity,” shows both sides but strips it down to a perfectly simple backbeat keeping time over big, long pads. When the beat drops off halfway through, you’re just left to coast back to earth on pure, relaxing clouds of ambient. And it’s a gorgeous ride down.

I have a great appreciation for artists who can vary up their stuff to show some versatility, and especially those who do so while keeping a grip on where they’ve been before. With Aurora Australis, Praguedren readily prove themselves to be those guys.

Available from Dank Disk.

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