City of Satellites

"...You know when you catch a faint smell of something that totally spins you out and reminds you of something you haven’t thought about since you were six, completely changing your day? City of Satellites have synthesised this feeling into music…" Drum Media

City of Satellites is an Australian duo from two cities thousands of miles apart.

Luna Kafé 11th October 2011 - LINK

Remixed sees seven songs from the Australian dream-pop duo City Of Satellites’ EP The Spook and the album Machine Is My Animal remixed. The outcome is quite stunning.

Remixed opens with Tim Manzanos cotton-soft take on “Machine Is My Animal”, Syntax’ approach on “Victor! Burn City Lights” is closer to the original, just with a lighter touch, while “Stranger Than Fiction” gets a delicious electroclash make-over by M-13. Slow Dance Society makes “Moon In The Sea” into an ordinary nice Slow Dancing Society tune, which means it’s anything but ordinary. “BMX” has in Tim Koch’s hands changed completely and appears as an eclectic pop-tune, and in that both gained and lost some of the immanent beauty of it’s former self. Jatun gives “Control” a fuzzy and tighter expression, while the closure “Skeleton” in Manuels’ version has gone in a warmer and smoother direction.

With so many different remixers it is as expected some variations here, but it still feels like a wholesome album, tied nicely together by the underlining of City Of Satellites shoegazing dream-pop material.

And in some parts, these mixes has not just made the tunes slightly different, or added another kind of quality, but actually turned the better part of them into something more, and by that; better.

The Frontloader 28th October 2010

Excerpt: “I’ve often found that the best time to appreciate music is late at night, after a long day of hustle and bustle. For some reason, my brain is usually at it’s most peaceful state in the late hours, and I’ve found that I’m more accepting and open to new music…. This track was the perfect backdrop to the night… it just seemed to float out from my iTunes and carry me to complete relaxation. “BMX” was synth-laden, atmosphere-inducing, and came across just as their label, Hidden Shoal Recordings, described it: sublime…. The music video for the song was directed by Dael Oates of Mothership/Digital Domain (Tron Legacy, Benjamin Button, Pirates of The Caribbean). It’s truly a sight to see: “BMX” is off their latest album, Machine is My Animal.”

The Underground of Happiness 28th October 2010 - LINK

Excerpt: “I like to think of this tune as an exercise in the sublime, with its gorgeous shoegazey shimmer (if all exercise was like this, obesity would be a forgotten dream in the pre-formed brain of an unborn child.) From the Australian duo’s engrossing album of last year, Machine is my animal, which is equally deserving of your attention.”

Music of the Moment 7th October 2010 - LINK

Sometimes there’s music that just clicks from the very first time you hear it. It draws you in and demands your attention. This just happened to me withMachine Is My Animal, the debut album from Australian Shoegaze-duo City Of Satellites. From the first moment of new single BMX to the closing notes ofSky Rider, their music takes you on a journey through swirling synthies, floating guitars and angel-like vocals. A truly enjoyable voyage that is best described in sound and visuals. So go ahead and enjoy BMX here, and check out their homepage for more information on how to get the album… which is of course highly recommended by yours truly!

Sputnik Music 18th April 2010 - LINK

Truth be told, nobody gives much of a sh*t about underground gems unless they know somebody in the band, or they are actually musically talented. If we all looked into every subterranean up-and-comer that sounds like our favourite bands, the wishlist would be a mile long. There is a tonne of good music being made that we sadly miss every year, but it is impossible to get everything. That being said, if you’re a fan of Cocteau Twins or Goldfrapp, there is a really good album that you have to hear.

Yep, this album is gorgeous. “Machine Is My Animal” slides between your auditory legs so easily and gives you waves of smoky dream-pop sensuality. Bordering on a tag of heavy spacey Shoegaze and the hot blissed-out sound of Electronic Pop, this Australian duo has shown some impressive talent. Opening with single, BMX, the band has jumped in feet first. Strong vocals with mellow guitar leads and synth foundations grab your attention, especially with such a wonderfully emotional tempo change at the end which sounds simply celestial.

The album channels a beautiful Shoegaze sound that ebbs through the nine tracks giving rise to wistful highlights like the psyche-f*cked electro noodling of Control and innocent vocal exhibition of title track, Machine Is My Animal. It’s no wonder the duo is involved in film scores as Skeletons boasts post-rock spunk that is both stimulating and relaxing. Such buzzing movements show an earnest maturity in electronic assemblage, creating a lush chilling atmosphere without being swathed in layers of cloudy eccentrics or lo-fi resonance.

The album definitely has weaker moments like the twinkling obsessiveness of Narrow Bend In Time and indifferent filler tracks that summarize the album but fail to bring anything new, especially the final cut, Sky Rider. It has retrospective tributes to Goldfrapp which is completely fine, since the twist given by the band is sufficient to craft a new approach to mellow ecstasy educed electronica. The potential is there, the sound is refined, the songwriting is clever (did I mention Stranger than Fiction), all City of Satellites have to do is put it all together and flip out a few similar standard discs and there can be success in this city.

Cyclic Defrost 31st March 2010 - LINK

One of the most unabashedly shoegaze-y albums in recent memory, Machine Is My Animal is the product of two collaborators split between Adelaide and Sydney. City Of Satellites’ Jarrod Manual and Thomas Diakomichalis have tuned their ears to the expansive dream-pop of the classic 4AD roster and the likeminded M83, relishing the elastic reach of spidery rhythms and unmoored melodies. And yet the defining feature is guitarist/keyboardist Manual’s room-filling lead vocals, so soft and high you’d swear it’s a woman singing. Diakomichalis, meanwhile, plays drums and synths, produces, and is responsible for the album art. Although less of an immediate presence than Manual’s voice, his spacious, left-field drumming is the source of continued fascination.

Lyrics function here as just another in the band’s range of lush strokes, offering further thematic shading but not so much narrative. The album’s opening ‘BMX’ references BMX Bandits and cites ’space invaders’, but the vocals are too haunting to approach cheesiness. And as with every song here, the details only feed into a convincing whole. ‘Control’ summons bygone synths that wouldn’t be out of place on the new Yeasayer album, while wobbly guitar takes hold of ‘Skeletons’. ‘Narrow Bend In Time’ then has a more urgent tug to it, at least by the band’s lethargic standards. Despite being buried at track seven of nine, the single ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ is direct and succinct, a three-minute calling card that jumps out from the more drift-minded songs around it.

That song’s standout lyric –“The night crawls in around me” – befits the entire album. The instrumental ‘Willje Sleep’ recalls another plane of existence, and the wavering ‘Victor! Burn City Lights’ doesn’t rush in the least. The title track especially is a kind of vortex, slowing one’s thought process to bring it in step with the band’s glacial pace. As much as City Of Satellites rely on heady unreality, though, everything in the duo’s arsenal is used sparingly and to significant effect. There’s an almost austere sheen to Machine Is My Animal, such that we’re never bombarded but gently seduced and swayed. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Textura March 2010 - LINK

What elevates City of Satellites’ dream pop above others’ takes on the style is the urgency driving the nine songs on Machine Is My Animal, the group’s follow-up to its debut EP The Spook. Though the group includes only two members, Adelaide resident Jarrod Manuel (vocals, guitars, synthesizers) and Sydney-based Thomas Diakomichalis (drums, synthesizers, programming), Machine Is My Animal nevertheless comes off sounding like songs played by a live band (much of that attributable to Diakomichalis’s powerful drumming, which features prominently in the mix). That’s especially more impressive, considering that, being geographically dispersed, the pair assembled the album’s songs by mailing back and forth the recorded works-in-progress until they reached completion.

An Eastern-styled synth motif boosts the impact of opener “BMX” before “Control” similarly riffs on the group’s seductive template by alchemizing Manuel’s breathy vocals, radiant synth motifs, and rambunctious drumming into a transporting four minutes. “Skeletons” rises and falls like an epic New Wave ballad, and “Stranger Than Fiction” catches you unawares by digging its hooks into you while you’re seduced by the song’s dizzying synth swirl, the vocal purr, and the crisp snap of the drum groove—a veritable Platonic ideal of dream pop in no more than three minutes and eight seconds. The vocals add so much to the music’s allure—never more so than during the entrancing outro “Sky Rider”—that an instrumental like “Willje Sleep” proves less memorable for excluding them. Listening to the album, it quickly becomes clear that shoegaze is an obvious wellspring for the group, but one also hears traces of both ‘80s synth-pop (OMD, for example) and New Wave in City of Satellites’ pristine, analogue sound.

Delusions of Adequacy 17th February 2010 - LINK

Hidden Shoal Recordings has been called “this generation’s 4AD” for good reason. Referring of course to the eclectic and cutting edge label of the early 80’s (it’s current resurgence not withstanding). With music as the top priority, both labels are not afraid to experiment, and aspire to bring exposure to unique and talented bands while providing an alternative source for the independent-minded music fan to discover new music. Eschewing the rock mainstream, and possibly commercial success, they put the music first, resulting in a splendid and varied assortment of distinguished records. Machine is My Animal, the debut LP from Australian duo City of Satellites, is no exception.

With celestial ties not only in name but also musically, the band use sunbursting synth lines and wispy, sonic swirls of spangly guitars to conjure pleasant memories of the Cocteau Twins’ surreal mix of shoegaze, synth-pop and dream-pop. Only the tracks here are slowed by a cosmological red-shift, as if the Cocteaus recorded an album after ingesting twice the recommended dosage of codeine-laced cough syrup and topped it off with a glass of Chardonnay.

The extended compositions take their time in captivating the listener as they develop tunefully with tranquil melodies as soft percussion echoes through the cavernous spaces allowed by the transcendent backdrop of glimmering keyboards. The soft and soothing vocals are feminine and angelic, even though provided by male singer Jarrod Manuel. It can be somewhat of a put-off at first, but unless you’re as uptight and moronic as Jerry Seinfeld or George Costanza, you’ll get over it quickly and realize the dreamy vocals are the perfect compliment to the music.

On first listen, the 9 tracks play like one long trip through a colorful cosmic cloud with a dreamy, mysterious flow and a lush underbelly of celestial sounds. But over time, the songs distinguish themselves with swirling layers of enveloping orchestral harmonies and shooting stars of guitar bursts and cymbal crashes that add brilliant flairs of vaporous and heavenly ambience. It takes time to absorb all of Machine Is My Animal’s cinematic scope and unfamiliar radiance, but if played in the right mood and setting will provide countless hours of sonic pleasure.

[Sic] Magazine 7th February 2010 - LINK

“Space invaders are on my mind”

The opening words of ‘BMX’ are almost breathed rather than sung. You’ll forgive me for having to already check my facts even at this earliest of junctures. Can that light, soft coo really belong to a man? It does. His name is Jarrod Manuel and his intonations are more than a little disbalancing. Manuel could make many female artists sound masculine. The male falsetto has been de rigueur since Jeff Buckley’s astonishing Grace but this is more than mere high pitch. This is post-feminine.

This surely comes from another planet?

Hidden Shoal is probably the most aptly named label around. For theirs is a semi-secret caché of luxuriant, modern recording artistes. The latest wonder is Australian electro-dream-pop duo City Of Satellites. Okay, I’ll admit ‘Australian’ does not quite equate to ‘extra-terrestrial’. (Icelanders leave me far more uncertain) but I have always rather enjoyed Australian music. What seems at first glance to be wholesome, boy-next-door fare can often have a delicious kink to it. This record has an altogether different kind of duality. When listening to Machine, all manner of memories come flooding back regarding the synth-pop bands of the early 80’s. We can even name and shame. OMD, The Eurythmics and Erasure are all clear reference points. Why then am I left unsatisfied? (by this line of critique, not the music)

If we’re being honest, City Of Satellites really don’t sound the same as any of those bands. Sure, there is a vibe to the music (‘Stranger than fiction’ could be a Mac-Air descendent of Sweet Dreams). Add to this the vaguely ‘retro-futuristic’ material and put together it does recall Top Of The Pops circa 1982. But this is a 2010 construct. This is the 21st Century – ten years in. Except City Of Satellites don’t inhabit our today. They inhabit the 21st Century we foresaw back in the past – all robotics, ray-guns and flying machines. The Tomorrows World of our youth.

Or maybe there are parallel universes? Maybe somewhere, in an alternate reality, Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode by falling through a wormhole into a Sky Captain meets Farscape Universe and formed Yazoo with the alien creature he met there. I am acutely aware at this point that you, dear reader, might expect and deserve something a bit more professional from me/us. I would therefore respectfully refer you away from here. You will find everything this review piece lacks, made up for in abundance on Machine Is My Animal – an imaginative, innocent, drifting album. Yes there are Sci Fi touches but let us not overplay this. The music is far from alien. Quite the contrary. Although this album reveals its extremities and conceals its heart, I’d liken it to a perfect nights sleep. That is to say, you remember the beginning and the end with some clarity but the part in-between is a gossamer dream. Seconds after it ends, its secrets fade into the memory. Somehow, this makes it as comforting as homemade lemonade in a summers garden.

The Band Next Door 4th February 2010 - LINK

City of Satellites creates pleasant, nostalgic and shoe-gaze derived pop that is like a mid-afternoon reverie. Whilst not everything about their debut album, Machine Is My Animal, is perfect – Some of the songs do drift a little aimlessly and lack concision – the album is a grower and sneaks up quietly on the listener, channelling the 1980’s in a manner reminiscent of M83’s most recent work. Unlike M83, City of Satellites adopts an aesthetic that is more 4AD and less John Hughes, as evidenced by the album’s cover.

Jarrod Manuel and Thomas Diakomichalis form the duo that is City of Satellites, with the former handling Vox/Guitar/Synth duties and the latter handling Synths/Drums and Production. Interestingly the two members hail from different cities; Manuel being from Adelaide while Diakomichalis is from Sydney. This may explain the spacious textures that fill the album.

The duo’s album is out on Hidden Shoal Recordings, and is available on CD and varying digital formats via iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, LaLa, Bandcamp and the Hidden Shoal Store.

Drum Media Sydney 2nd February 2010 - Issue 994

Machine Is My Animal, the first long player from Australian natives City of Satellites, proves an atmospheric and imaginative journey through nine tracks of dreamy electronica. Opening song BMX combines eerie, layered synthesizers and reverb-drenched guitar tones along with a delightfully playful female vocal melody, reminiscent of The XX and Bat For Lashes. Control utilises more of an earthy sound, with woodwind-esque synthesizers driving the drum-heavy song into a catchy and ethereal soundscape. Combining elements of shoegaze, electronica and synth-pop Stranger Than Fiction is perhaps the best example of City of Satellites’ ability to incorporate a memorable pop song amongst a barrage of lush synthesizers and drum machines, while final track Sky Rider is a six-minute ride, twisting and turning through dreamy synthesizers, plucked guitar loops and walking bass lines, eventually combining with some quaint female vocals, a signature of the duo.

City of Satellites have crafted an album filled with dense space and fuelled by vintage synthesizers and melodically rich vocals. Aptly titled, Machine’s most compelling feature is its effortless ability to combine electronic and human sounds. While the production value on the record rivals that of heavyweights M83 and Aphex Twin, the use of hook-laden vocal melodies propels the record into a new and polished direction, appealing not only to fans of electronica but anyone with an ear for a well-produced pop song.

Luna Kafé Full Moon 164 30th January 2010 - LINK

City of Satellites is Jarrod Manuel from Adelaide and Thomas Diakomichalis from Sydney, both Australia. Machine Is My Animal is their debut album.

It is difficult to know exactly how the physical distance between the two band members has influenced Machine Is My Animal. But I would think it is plausible to say that it is responsible for some of the distant emotion that is so very present in most of the tracks on this pretty shoegazing, electronic pop album. Machine Is My Animal moves in a retro sci-fi, synth-shaped soundscape, from the opener “BMX” with it’s dreamy flirt with 80s, through the laid-back close-to-post-rock pieces “Victor! Burn City Lights” and “Willje Sleep” to the closing with the ethereal “Sky Rider”. And in between you get songs like the massive title track and the single; “Stranger Than Fiction” that offers more body and structure to the otherways cold and floating images.

In a way the coldness is City of Satellites worst, and best, side. On the more structural songs it keeps them from getting to sweet. But when they go to dreamy, the songs turns dim, borderlining uninteresting. Fortunately, they manages to balance this most of the time though. So, all in all, Machine Is My Animal turns at to be a pretty pleasant album.

Leonard’s Lair 2nd December 2009 - LINK

Towards the end of 2008, I was enraptured by the an EP from Jarrod Manuel and  Thomas Diakomichalis. Performing as City of Satellites, this Australian duo operate in the same sphere as Talk Talk, Breathless and Bark Psychosis; creating deeply emotional music with a keen sense of space and dynamics. Now their first album has arrived and it’s largely a case of their promise being fulfilled.

‘BMX’ demostrates the sum of their disparate components perfectly; crisp percussion, Manuel’s lemon-fresh vocals and glorious synth melodies are at the heart of everything they do. ‘Victor! Burn City Lights’ even begins with two and a half minutes without vocals but it’s varying pace and rhythms always keeps the listener interested. Meanwhile, the title track features glistening guitar lines and seems engulfed in a deliciously attractive feeling of sadness.

If there is a criticism – and it is a small one – a couple of the tracks seems a little too smooth. single ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ is essentially synth pop of the most sophisticated kind whilst ‘Skeletons’ also reminded me of Scritti Politti (but Manuel’s soothing, effeminate tones may have much to do with that).

‘Machine Is My Animal’ falls a little short of classic status but it is still a hugely impressive first album. Most of the tracks exhibit mystery and exquisite, glacial melodies backed up by pristine production.

Rave Magazine Brisbane 17th November 2009 - LINK

Australia’s new finest dream-pop duo ascend to orbit.

Creativity travels long distances while music can often transcend galaxies. An inter-city collaborative unit in the vein of Kilbey/Kennedy – singer/guitarist Jarrod Manuel lives in Adelaide and drummer/synth programmer Thomas Diakomichalis is a Sydneysider – City of Satellites venture beyond the troposphere on their debut CD Machine Is My Animal. Hazy, ethereal vocals and magisterial synth soundscapes wrap the sensors like rich ice cream upon pressing play; opener BMX is M83-meets-Black Cab (themselves strong candidates for Shoegaze Album of 2009 with Call Signs), Control’s Oriental riff summons the ghosts of Japan and flagship track Stranger Than Fiction is a pop song of Koyaanisqatsi-like grandeur. Tasteful ‘80s nods (yes, such a definition exists) are plentiful throughout – particularly Victor! Burn City Lights and Skeletons’ half-muted guitar arpeggios – however the record is fortunately spared the Phil Collins drum sound and Manuel’s Air-redolent, multitracked vocals are angelic for the lack of a better description. Closing with the levitating Sky Rider, the album radiates glacial atmospherics not heard in this country since the halcyon days of otherworldly Tasmanians The Paradise Motel. Best served with a shot of oily, frozen butterscotch schnapps [Huh? – Indie Ed.].

Losing Today Singled Out 12th October 2009 - Missive 249 - LINK

Expect Hidden Shoal action aplenty over the course of the next missive or so as they gear up for the end of the year and shift their release schedule gears into overdrive – first up…

The City of Satellites ’Stranger Than Fiction’ (Hidden Shoal). Last venturing these pages way back at Missive 181 wherein we were sent to swoon heaven courtesy of the silken electro retro sounds found on their sumptuous three track ’the spook’ EP debut. The duo – Jarrod and Thomas – have spent the intervening year busily sculpturing an album which now completed is proudly lined up on the shelf awaiting release at the tail end of next month. The album entitled ’machine is my animal’ continues their odyssey into the realms of dream pop, ’stranger than fiction’ culled from that set to serve as a taster is equipped with hulking ice tipped chorus’ of synth chime serenades that cast out a colourfully vibrant swirling haze that’s both as demurring as it is intoxicating all the time regaling within a disarming shy eyed aspect brought to the fore by Jarrod’s softly caressing feminine like vocals and arrested by the uplifting backdrops of starry eyed dream weaves – one we suspect for admirers of OMD’s ’Souvenir’.

Time Off Dance Singles 25th June 2009 - LINK

Fragile, frail UK-ish post-rock is the genre that, never having found full favour, never really dies either. On ‘Moon in the Sea’, which opens The Spook, amorphous synthesiser drones, widescreen 80s drums, spindly Durutti Column guitar and wispy forlorn female librarian vocals do their morose thing with a flair and intensity that could come straight from Bark Psychosis circa 1994 (or Piano Magic circa 1999, or… but I digress). There’s a fair amount of mediocre material in this vein; City of Satellites rise above the stodgy middle ground by virtue of the music’s crystalline sharpness, which suggests a musical sophistication belied by the relative sparseness of their approach. The rest of this three-track EP contains just enough variation (opalescent synth arpeggios and baleful post-punk bass on ‘Sleeping Disgrace’; amorphous shoe gazer blur on the title track) to suggest that they could become very good indeed. I hope they bring more hand percussion next time.

Luckybuster 23rd March 2009 - LINK

Today we feature a track from City Of Satellites, “a band of two people from two Australian cities” as described on their page. This washes over you in a slight nod to post rock. Yet as the song goes on, the vocals give “Sleeping Disgrace” that slight whispy edge that slightly gets it away from that genre. Even later still the synth kicks in too then really get away from those ideas. It’s akin to something delicate yet sweeping the listener away at the same time.

I caught onto this hidden gem via Hidden Shoal Recordings (no weird wordplay intended there). A great little label based in Perth who bring out some very underrated artists in the indie field that really do get overlooked. Go download some of their free samplers while you are there and check out their catalogue while you’re at it.

Cyclic Defrost Magazine 17th February 2009 - LINK

City of Satellites expansive Moon in the Sea opens their debut ep The Spook, chime and synth otherworldly mood setting opening into melodic guitar themes, stripped back minimal drumming style, highly wrought synthesizer dressing and the will-o’-the-wisp vocals. At once a form of dreamlike pop with darker undertones it holds all the hallmarks of well wrought emotive post rock landscapes. City of Satellites can at times have a sense of the romantic and melodramatic about its effect and styling but the arena for these emotions is part of the attraction.

It is a long distance project between Adelaide and Sydney by Jarrod Manuel (vocals, guitars, synthesizers) and Thomas Diakomichalis (drums, synthesizers,programming) respectively. Distance being culturally non specific the music released in Perth and well received in North America. Eschewing time as well, Sleeping Disgrace conjures up ghosts of 80’s guitar melancholia wrapped up in backwards guitar loops, drones, clever effects and programming, driving the form clearly into a present setting. Closing The Spook is the title track containing a more sonically full tapestry, achieving atmospheric effect and sound wall, sensory and emotive thrall.

WRSU-FM 10th February 2009 Issue 1091 - LINK

The Spook EP #24 in WRSU-FM’s Radio 200 Top 30

Last week in Issue 1091 City of Satellites were #24 in New Jersey’s WRSU-FM’s Radio 200 Top 30 CMJ chart, in such company as Bruce Springsteen, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Morrissey, Bon Iver, Ida Maria, Death Cab for Cutie, Miles Davis, and more.

Drum Media Sydney 27th January 2009

Dim the lights, light the incense, pour yourself a glass of white wine and allow yourself to float away as this duo – a singer, guitarist and synth player from Adelaide, a drummer, programmer and synth player from Sydney – takes you on a languorous cruise through some downbeat, moonlit, stonergaze place inside your mind. There’s no hurry, just three contemplative tunes, with the shortest clocking in at just less than seven and a half minutes. Jarrod Manuel’s brief, whispered, abstract vocal passages work here more like bridges between adjoining sound/dreamscapes.

Drum Media Perth 22nd January 2009 - Single of the Week

You know when you catch a faint smell of something that totally spins you out and reminds you of something you haven’t though about since you were six, completely changing your day? City of Satellites have synthesised this feeling into music. The Adelaide/Sydney duo’s debut EP plays out like a strange adventure through an exotic foreign city – without the implied pretentiousness. Opening track ‘Moon in the Sea’ carries faint traces of shoegaze heroes M83 and My Bloody Valentine, with faint, androgynous vocals drifting in and out of clarity over a dreamy soundscape. Though only three (long) tracks in length, The Spook is an emotionally exhausting and incredibly satisfying little trip.

Textura 31st December 2008 - LINK

Slow Dancing Society (Priest Lake Circa ‘88, #42 album)

My top pick for 2008 would have to be City of Satellites’ The Spook EP by my fellow label-mates over at the lovely Hidden Shoal Recordings. I came across their music by happenstance one day and it just floored me and I told Cam at Hidden Shoal about them and that they needed to be heard. Really great melodies that embodied all of the great stuff about the ’80s with a warm feeling that gives it a contemporary feel. Creepy sounding vocals that have a soothing quality to them. Simply beautiful music.

Leonard’s Lair 21st December 2008 - LINK

City of Satellites are an Australian-based duo who have created a richly-layered debut to unite the worlds of dreampop and ambient rock. Despite containing a mere three tracks, the twenty-two minutes contained within this release show commendable depth, emotion and high production values.

‘Moon in the Sea’ begins with a densely-constructed introduction of drums, bass and synths, which soon allow Jarrod Manuel’s whispered vocals to make themselves known. Like the rest of the EP, there’s nothing immediate about this song but it becomes more involving after each listen. ‘Sleeping Disgrace’ uses a slow and deliberate rhythm with its languid guitar offering a fine counterpoint to Manuel’s falsetto, rather like a post-rock Scritti Politti. There’s even time for a couple of synth solos that border on prog rock but otherwise City of Satellites retain an understated approach to songwriting. Finally, the EP’s title track shoots off into space with a gorgeous arrangement of uplifting guitars and effects. It’s the track which most openly reveals their shoegazing influences the but it’s also a song that seeks to embrace the future rather than churn up the past.

Although they are clearly a band with their own sound, the nearest comparison I can think of are Breathless. Like that British band, City of Satellites create meticulously-constructed songs of mystery and drama and this is a brilliant start to their career.

Luna Kafé 12th December 2008 - LINK

Here’s another fine title for Luna Kafé: “Moon In The Sea” by Aussie post-rock/dream-pop twosome City Of Satellites. “Moon In The Sea” is a single culled from their debut EP The Spookreleased a couple of weeks ago.

City Of Satellites (COS) perform atmospheric music with an eerie twist. They play with the spacey and mystic, making a dreamy, slowly gliding expression.The twosome do fine, and “Moon In The Sea” sort of delivers what its title promises. I see a moon reflection way off the coast line.

Promising, very promising.

Losing Today 11th December 2008 - Missive 181 - LINK

City of Satellites ‘the spook’ (hidden shoal). Much to our legendary laziness, general day long apathy and dare we say humbled embarrassment we’ve been getting hit by email updates from the Perth, Australia based imprint Hidden Shoal for some time now and on those occasions have always tuned in briefly to see what they’re currently up to, liked it, made a mental note to re-visit a little later for a more detailed stay with a view to review and then haplessly forgot, though that said we have made brief overtures in their general direction in these pages but not to the extent that they’ve richly deserved. So this not being the New Year and us not being one for one for resolutions decided to make a – er – early New Year’s resolution, that being we will in future be mindful to come clean with our promises with regard to Hidden Shoal. So first up in this new found resolution policy towards Hidden Shoal is a rather nifty debut three track EP from City of Satellites. A Sydney based duo compromising of Jarrod Manuel and Thomas Diakomichalis, City of Satellites craft out beautifully mellowing starry eyed dream weaving post rock sculptures that are delicately dimpled with shoe gaze and mid 80’s goth / 4AD styled dialects and lushly tendered with sweetly amorphous ambient trance lines, opening cut ’moon in the sea’ is particularly sugared so, sounding at times like a distant cousin of Ecstasy of Saint Theresa being cosmically fused with ‘Tin Drum‘ era Japan, the mood reclining, fragile and ethereally demurring. The seductively hollowing ’Sleeping Disgrace’ tweaks on the heart strings a little firmer, introspective and bruised, this lulling lunatic slice orbiting post rock noodling sparseness unfurls as though like a forlorn Labradford being played at 45 instead of 33 whilst liltingly braided by trickling thaw like key swirls and Jarrod’s (according to the press release) achingly melting feminine vocals. All said and though it’s the parting cut that seals the set, maybe it’s the dry iced cinematic tethered cavernous swathes that endow ’the spook’ with its lush defence surrendering sensibilities, all at once expansive and celestial, majestic and statue-esque that to these ears evoke some disarming frost tipped orbital manoeuvre being instigated by Chapterhouse and Slowdive. A gem.

Quarterlifeparty 3rd December 2008 - LINK

Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a reach, but the mood of this song, off City Of Satellites’ debut EP The Spook, reminds me of that moody 80’s vibe that M83 had going on in Saturday’s=Youth. For a first EP it’s not bad for the aussie band at all.

Below I’ve posted “Sleeping Disgrace” which kind of has a Mew vibe to it as well. This song isn’t bad, but if you really wanna hear the gem from the EP, check out the single “Moon In The Sea” on their Myspace page. You can buy the 3-song EP here for a whopping $3.50.

I Am The Crime 25th November 2008 - LINK

Australian label Hidden Shoal have revealed yet another stunning piece of work in the form of City Of Satellites‘ debut EP “The Spook”. Though very ethereal and dreamy, City of Satellites are also quite melodic which I find to be a nice change amongst the sometimes far too abstract post-rock available these days.

The opening track and single “Moon In The Sea” is the highlight but the two remaining songs, “Sleeping in Disgrace” and “The Spook” are just as gorgeous. Consisting of an eerie dreamscape of spooky synths, weeping guitars and singer Jarrod’s frail but beautiful voice, this is definitely worthy of your attention.