AstroPilot’s “The Masquerade”

“The Masquerade” from the 2017 album “Thirty Three.”

Just a quick post for tonight, since it’s actually kind of late in the evening. This one comes all the way from Siberia from psy-ambient composer Dmitriy Redko, a.k.a. AstroPilot. The track’s called “The Masquerade,” and it’s an audio drive-by – i.e. one of those tracks from my local iPhone playlist that I heard while motoring around town, taking care of a few odds and ends.

Come to think of it, I haven’t done one of these in a while – the drive-by, that is. It’s also been a fair amount of time since I’ve thrown some psychedelic ambience into the mix. Anyway, these days, most of my inspiration comes from the home Spotify shuffle, with the occasional personal iTunes library as back-up. Honestly, I really should spend more time with my own downloaded and digitized stock, since there’s tons of great stuff there that doesn’t always intersect with my online listening. And that’s how this track came about.

So enough prologue and scene setting. “The Masquerade” doesn’t feel like the typical trip and slide affair. It definitely skews on the chilled side of the looking glass, with plenty of geo-aural refractions to set the synapses firing. But it’s far less acidic and hallucinogenic, and more aimed on a progressive path of sensory exploration and cultural cultivation. It feels more like a journey, which I know sounds cliché. But it does conjure emotions of a trek being taken, a travelogue into some foreign land, somewhat familiar, yet also out of place.

AstroPilot’s Russian heritage does set him apart from his European and Israeli counterparts. His sounds are far more moody and melodic, less tripped out and whirled into the typical infinite analog gnarl. Don’t get me wrong. I like my psy-ambience as twisted and mind-altering as the next fan. But I feel like Redko is doing something more nuanced, layered, and deep, painting an impressionistic portrait, if you will, with electronic pigments of kaleidoscopic sound.

“The Masquerade” coasts at a comfortable 119 bpm’s, which means it’s got beats. This one’s not a sprawled on the floor, horizontal drift affair. But if that’s your thing, it works from that perspective too. The percussive melody carries a somewhat serious vibe, playing like a soundtrack to some fantastical masked carnival, full of gypsy magic and whirling dervishes, set amongst a ballroom of tubular bells and cool forest air. There’s moments where it seems a storm is brewing, and others where there might be horses neighing. A naturalistic quality blankets its atmospheric aura.

AstroPilot’s been around since at least 2005, maybe longer. He’s release more albums than I can recall, the latest full length being “Thirty Three” from 2017, which is the source of “The Masquerade.” And he’s been going back and remastering many of these prior efforts, and getting them online for all to enjoy.

I’m going to wrap tonight up with another track from “Thirty Three,” titled “Down the Memory Lane,” which is a beautiful slice of ambience that works its way into a classy and confident 90 bmps of percussive hypnotics. It’s also a collaboration with German electronic artist Simon Neumann, better known by his stage name, Seamoon.


“Down the Memory Lane” from the 2017 album “Thirty Three.”