Stratus are Mat Anthony and Martin Jenkins, two English gents whose love for warped soundtracks, fuzzed-out psychedelia and analog aesthetics is distilled in the bittersweet harmonies and wistful bliss of their songs, taking in everything from sublime pastoral electronics through to string-laden cosmic rock.
Their long-awaited second album 'As the Crow Flies' is the follow-up to their acclaimed debut 'Fear of Magnetism' (which spawned the epic single "Uplink") and was recorded over the past few years with both parties taking time out along the way - Mat producing psych edits and surf noir for Vintage Rockers and Martin making solo releases for Joakim's Tigersushi label and the haunting synthesizer transcripts of the Black Mill Tapes trilogy as Pye Corner Audio.
A fascination for French cinematic composers of the 60s and 70s such as Francois de Roubaix and Jean-Claude Vannier was fuelled after remixing Serge Gainsbourg in their early days as a production duo and these influences weigh heavy in lush orchestral arrangements, stripped psych rock rhythms, enigmatic synths and music-box melodies.
Fragments of guitar and piano combine with celestial strings while occasional vocals swirl through with pedal steel, driving brass and organ drones drenched in worn spring reverb. As the Crow Flies offers a glimpse into hidden places at the edge of memory... an unhurried, bittersweet soundtrack that revels in elegant disrepair and bucolic delight.
Stratus - Look to the Sky video:
'As The Crow Flies' Track-listing:
1. Beneath the Wheel
2. Where Do You Go?
3. The Coldest Star
4. As the Crow Flies
5. Into the Fields
6. Be Ready
8. The Long Shadows
9. Look to the Sky (video above)
10. Vannier’s Lament
12. Abandoned Village
Produced by Stratus. Mastered by the Head Technician. Cat. No. FRGCD001
Media reaction for debut album 'Fear of Magnetism':
"Inspired debut of lush, atmospheric grooves" **** Uncut
"Road movie atmospherics... an album that should raise the game. Invest and explore" **** DJ
"Outer-spatial electronic symphony... astonishing" ***** Mixmag
"Magnificent and sky high... an electrifying storm of crackling tension and epic post-rock moodiness" ***** Muzik
"Endlessly engaging, covering the ground between fragile electronic blips and woozy, psychedelic country with finesse it's an album to truly lose yourself in" **** Juice