BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Any truth in its title aside, I Was Going To Be An Astronaut clearly indicates a certain desire by the author to engage in flights of fantasy. Indeed, Laswell’s latest continues to explore the nocturnal realms that have been his domain since the very beginning. In a way, this is a natural; the album finds him mostly reinterpreting his earlier works by simply stripping them down to a bare essence, replaying them on piano and giving them the mournful quality that only an upstate New York setting with an October haze could effectively produce.
Laswell plays all the instruments here and it shows; indeed there’s a singular sound here that enhances that bleak quality throughout. And yet that atmospheric ambiance also produces some spectacularly beautiful results — the shimmering essence of “I Don’t Believe It’s Through,” the quietly desperate “Take Everything,” the hollow-eyed irony of the Sparklehorse cover “It’s A Wonderful Life,” a positively breathtaking “And Then You.” Though there will inevitably be those who think these yearning piano soliloquies suffer from too much of an autumnal gaze, this is Laswell’s MO after all and he’s always befitted a certain mood, that borne of lonely nights positioned by the fire or a Sunday morning when, for whatever reason, there’s reason to keep the world at bay.
And in that context, the haunting I Was Going To Be An Astronaut absolutely soars.
DOWNLOAD: “Take Everything,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “I Don’t Believe It’s Through”