New LP on pre-sale : x-ray six: Before You Play This

bandcamp pre-sale and hear a track in advance

We relaunch our x-ray vinyl cult with Yorkshire-kosmische legends Ashtray Navigations! Beautiful collectible vinyl lust objects, the x-ray records reveal an image when held up to the light. Limited edition.

“We were always too rock for the art crowd and too artsy for the rock & roll crowd,” Phil Todd – the musician behind Yorkshire kosmische institution Ashtray Navigations for the past 30 years – explained to The Quietus in a recent career-examining feature. “I’ve always been a big fan of playfulness. I take great pleasure in the unexpected and illogical aspects of recording music.”

The music of ‘Ash Nav’, as the project is known to its devoted admirers, has traversed the fields of drone, noise, krautrock, lo-fi, psychedelia and ambient across 180 or so releases since 1994. But as Phil indicates, one of the determining characteristics of this project is a sharply-honed sense of playfulness.

These sonic explorations might be dedicated to exploring the weirdest of unnamed feelings and perverse half-thoughts scuttling around the back of our minds, but it is never not joyful. And Ash Nav’s new LP, Before You Play This, might well be the most joyful of the lot.

Before You Play This is such an unashamedly pleasure-embracing album that it’s hard not to think of it as a kind of psychedelic pop music. Its textures are bright and shiny, its structures – for a band sometimes mistakenly thought of as creating formless, abstract splurges of sound – are concise, catchy, and, on tracks like The Case at least, almost danceable.

Sure, it still feels like your eyeballs are melting and your brain is fizzing, but in a happy way?

Thanks to 2020’s universally acclaimed Greatest Imaginary Hits retrospective, compiled by long-time celebrity fans including Henry Rollins, a new generation of music fans are discovering Ashtray Navigations for the very first time. Before You Play This proves that Ash Nav continues to confound, surprise, and innovate – that this is modern, forward-looking music, forever pointing out possible new futures for sound.

Praise for Ashtray Navigations

“This particular brand of home brew lysergia falls in and out of underground fashion, but it’s to Todd’s credit that he doesn’t seem to give a shit, carrying on as he would regardless. That’s what legends are made of, kid… if the hall of fame doesn’t give my dude a lifetime achievement award soon, the whole of Greatest Imaginary Hits might be reason enough to start storming the gates and demanding action.” – The Quietus

“AN remain a puzzlingly underrated but integral part of the UK underground scene.” – The Wire

“A symbiotic swirl of grey and halogen, with the unmistakable tones of cheap keyboards and practice amps reworked into the implements of astral lift-off.” – ATTN:Magazine

“Phil Todd boils Kosmiche in a manner that suggests he’s got a direct line to the cosmic source, foaming and frothing his way through synth nodes hard pressed to contain the oddly pulsing gamma waves that radiate from within.” – Raven Sings The Blues

“Raw, noisy, often ecstatic, transporting, textural, and most of all, free.” – Petriblog

“Truly far out stuff that’ll make you feel like you’re taking a trip to another universe and beyond… For a totally tripped out experience, you won’t do much better than this. Provocative. Wild. And amazing. Recommended. Top pick.” – Babysue

“Just in case you’ve lived in a cave without Wi-Fi for twenty years: Ashtray Navigations is the long-running ‘band’ name of the singular Phil Todd, a living goddamned treasure whose music from the early 90s all the way until today, a hundreds-strong catalogue that shows no sign of slowing down or running on empty, is worth as much of your time as you can spare.” – Vital Weekly 

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Bandcamp Bargain Basement Blowout Thing

Bandcamp Friday rolls around yet again and in the absence of any new music to lay upon ye (though there will be soon, exciting announcement on its way, soon, promise…) we have the next best thing. Or maybe a better thing. Bargains! Some old muck has been halved in price. Or sometimes more than halved. Almost thirded!

In short, all of the following titles are temporarily (i.e. until the weekend) reduced to one english pound and fifty english pennies. That’s £1.50. So stock up virtually while virtual stocks last:

Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes, 1995-1997 Hands Under Water Reaching For Nothing, Fuzzbottle Phenomena, Flute Falling (Vertically), Sea II, Greatest Imaginary Band, Skewered By Clouds, Snakestrings​/​Hollywood Taught You How To Kiss, Who’s Been Rocking My Dreamboat?, Running On Autokinetic, The Cream Wheel , Johnny Fuckoff Minotaur (Easter Exit 2), Caeduceus & Black Sal, The Beak Stuck Out Of The Snow, Cinderella Stamps, Deadicated to the Sensory Armada, Ten Layer Terror, Sky Whine, Abomination Rock, Spray, Srpls Provncl Hrbs, Cloud Come Cadaver, Blues Power Cake, Monocycle Americain, The Night Time Is The Right Time, Sweet Iron Feet, Yesterday’s Teeth Cast in Gold, “Progressive Physical Relaxation” – Live At Helderberg House Nov 2nd 2009, Aero Infinite, Fluctuants

Bargains here

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New subscribers-only release for Bandcamp Friday 07.05.2021

superior feelings no. 2 bandcamp subscriber edition cover art
Superiorfeelings No. 2

We’ve got a new special subscribers only release coming up for Bandcamp Friday, titled Superiorfeelings No. 2, you can get that by signing up for our subscription service:

Also coming up is a new LP on Blue Tapes, and T-shirts, more information soon!

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New radio show tomorrow (Thursday 06.05.2021 4pm CET) on CAMP Radio

Ashtray Navigations band photo with mirrors

The 2nd Ashtray radio show will be streaming live this Thursday at 4pm CET (that’s 3pm UK time, 10am EST, 11pm in Japan, Midnight on Friday in Australia and 7am PDT, for all you early risers) Music from Lamont Dozier, Embryo, Rose Royce, Sonny and Linda Sharrock, Wizzard and many more! Phil and Mel will be doing some talking in this one!

It can be listened to again afterwards at CAMPs Mixcloud. Our show from last month is still up there:

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New Ash Nav “Water Hole…” CDs arrive!

New CDRs turned up and pre-orders went out today (thanks everyone). There are a small handful of copies left, if you don’t want to miss out, bandcamp!

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Bandcamp Friday again! new CD/DL…Water Hole Or It’s Better To Be Clean Than Fancy

Water Hole Or It’s Better To Be Clean Than Fancy…new Ashtray pulsations and freakouts for everyone’s favourite bank holiday, Bandcamp Friday. DL now, CD in a couple of weeks.


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Still remembering fun, one year on…

This happened exactly one year ago today.

Hopefully it will happen again before too much longer, or something like it will, at least.

Until then, you can relive those times with your ears, and if you decide to throw some money in (if you have some), Wharf Chambers (where those kind of things used to happen a year ago, and hopefully will be again soon) will be the sole beneficiaries.

Thanks everyone, keep hanging in in there!

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Greatest Imaginary Hits featured in end of year best of lists on Bandcamp, The Quietus, The Wire…

We were so busy getting “What The Fuck Did I Dream” and “Light Consequences” (which are some of our best by the way- check ’em out!) to press that we snoozed on the fact that Greatest Imaginary Hits made some end of year best of lists! First time for everything. We missed it because we didn’t realise it would be in the separate compilations and reissues lists.

Marc Masters gave us a lovely writeup in his review of the Bandcamp Best Experimental Albums of 2020. Check out the other good stuff he features here too:

The compilation made it all the way to number 8 in The Quietus’ reissues of the year. Here’s Dustin Krcatovich’s writeup of us, click the link to read about all the other great albums reissued this year.

And it was 24 in The Wire’s reissues. Get the new issue here to check out who else made the list

Also notably, we were shouted out by the delightfully named DJ Petirrojo, who collects music related to birds, whether musically or visually. His Twitter account is here:

Cheers everyone!

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Thurston Moore & Phil Todd Distant Duo now available

As part of the final batch of Mary Staubitz and Russ Waterhouse’s “very 2020” series of blindfold duets, Ashtray Navigations’s Phil Todd and Thurston Moore (who I think was in some band or other once, dunno…) have contributed 5 mins of guitar (and a bit of sampler) intricacies for your entertainment. Bandcamp and be sure to check out the vast array of luminaries and legends in the other 77 installments. Its all great stuff.

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Bandcamp Friday! Two new CDR/DLs…What The Fuck Did I Dream…Light Consequences

What The Fuck Did I Dream

One long track, revisiting old times of textural drift from prior Ashtray installments, with added 21st century pixel dancing…furniture music flatpacked and automatically assembling and reassembling itself in time


Light Consequences

Eight action pieces – jumping guitars, firecracker rhythms, dub murk and blend, field recordings and distant walls of fuzz, a fun size variety bag of audio illuminations.


Those who do not bandcamp, available here for £5 per CDR plus postage. Contact ashtraynavigations (at) hotmail (dot) com

We also have a fine array of merchandise still available, if you want to wear or drink out of your very own Ashtray Navigation!

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