Released in 2006, Astreal's "Fragments Of The Same Dead Star" has aged very well. Many of the songs feature the repetition of whole sections. While this should honestly not surprise anyone, as I believe most post-rock and shoegaze albums were conceived with the sole purpose of inducing a trance-like state in the listener through repetition, I nevertheless felt that quite a few of the songs really could have benefitted from some sudden left-turn songwriting choices . Think of those cosmic jammy middle sections you'd find on The Mars Volta's "Deloused in the Comatorium". Some avant and high-attitude Omar Rodriguez-Lopez guitar solos would've really vaulted this album into hyperspace. Opening instrumental "Projektion", with its cross between the interstellar Krautrock Radiohead jamband aesthetic and moody, post-punk Interpol production stylings, adequately sums up the sonics of this album. The record is characterised by synth sounds which tend to draw attention away from the song as a whole, as evidenced in album centrepiece "Control". Here, the stereo synths are so loud that I felt a kind of aural seizure coming on. But maybe that was intended. Remember, trance-like state. Often buried under cover of lush star fragments are the ethereal stylings of vocalist Ginette Chittick. Possessing a voice that was indisputably made for shoegaze, ala Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star, Chittick's lyrics leave a lot of room for interpretation, with topics ranging from love to death, and depending on how you choose to interpret them, the lyrics could just as easily be about the demise of our planet as about the dissolution of a romantic relationship. Like all great albums, an attempt at getting the full scope of any given masterpiece would not be complete without spending some time pondering upon what its title and artwork have to contribute to the experience. With this in mind, I took one look at the artwork for Astreal's "Fragments Of The Same Dead Star" and thought "dissociation". Then I looked at the title and the word that struck me the most was "dead". Dissociation and dead. I'm projecting big time of course, but if the four-piece shoegaze act had intended to communicate dissociation and deadness on this 2006 release, they sure knocked it out of the park. Spacious, visceral, coherent (if a little to a fault), "Fragments Of The Same Dead Star" is an ambitious and highly cinematic album that will reward multiple listens.