Asta Rangu release their debut album 'ENTRTNMNT'

Asta Rangu release their debut album 'ENTRTNMNT'

Richard Ley-Hamilton (he/him), Julie Dunn (they/them), Josh Nicholls (he/him), and Angus McBryde (he/him) make up Asta Rangu, a alternative rock band based in Ōtepoti (Dunedin). Their output of reflective and contemplative sounds shine while exploring values, connection, progress and escapism.

Following the singles TOO-ZOOMA, VIC and LLPLZA, Asta Rangu share their debut album ENTRTNMNT (out today via Ōtepoti independent record label trace/untrace).

ENTRTNMNT was recorded between Otago University's new performing arts centre Te Korokoro o te Tūī, and in a bedroom in North East Valley. The eight songs are lively yet melancholic, joyous yet thoughtful. The tracks showcase Asta Rangu's meticulous songwriting talent, and give the listener an understanding of how much the group cares about making music.

When asked how they approached recording ENTRTNMNT, Richard Ley-Hamilton responded that "rather than simply capture a live performance, or find a particular sound or balance, we approached each song fresh. We embraced the wilderness of each song and paved a new way every time."

"To suit the energy and idea of a song, we would adjust mics, instrumentation, our intensity, at the same time trying to allow as much flexibility for later in the process. It was naturally less streamlined, but resetting between tracks gave us the freedom to be creative and experiment. After having this experience, I don't believe I'll ever record any other way."

ENTRTNMNT shows off Asta Rangu's piece-meal approach to sound albeit one that is viewed through a kosmische pop lens. "We had amassed a ragtag collection of gear to work with, from versatile synths to a temperamental theremin" says Ley Hamilton. "If a sound served the song, it made the cut. Of particular note was the Korg Delta, a vintage synth from the 80s entrusted to us by Lee from Space Bats, Attack!. Julie (Dunn) used it as a main synth for our shows the past year or so, and though it could be a real pain to perform with, if given the liberty of time it always delivered the goods."

When asked to reflect how he feels now that ENTRTNMNT is released Ley-Hamilton responds "I'm just proud. In this age, where so many are awash with content, there is no guarantee you'll be heard. But to know we've put absolutely everything into it, and surpassed our own expectations - that is satisfying enough."

"As the album title alludes to, we do not make music to simply entertain - it is about connection. Something far beyond the music and the words."

To celebrate the release of ENTRTNMNT Asta Rangu are hitting the road in June, stopping off in Aotearoa's four main centres.

They won't be alone, as Ōtepoti (Dunedin) / Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) space-doom collective Space Bats, Attack!, will be joining them too, playing new songs from their recently released album Oort. Acid rock trio Linen will support the groups in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington), and psych duo Ripship will join them in Tāmaki Makaurau. Visual artist Sam Caldwell will provide an immersive projection performance at the home show in Ōtepoti.

Tickets for all shows are available via Undertheradar. Mask use is encouraged where possible.

Asta Rangu emerged from the ashes of Ōtepoti's indie-pop darlings Males with the release of the 2017 EP Plasticine, which was noted for its melodic and angular sound, with hook-laden wordplay set against swirling arrangements. Songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton guides Asta Rangu in a direction which reflects more accurately the tone of Ley-Hamilton’s sombre, pensive and astute lyrics.

After returning from the UK in 2019, Ley-Hamilton recruited bandmates Josh Nicholls (Koizilla, Space Bats Attack!, Dale Kerrigan) on drums, Julie Dunn (Bathysphere, Mary Berry) on keys and Angus McBryde (The Broken Heartbreakers) on bass.

With newfound energy and confidence, Asta Rangu burst onto the scene in 2020 with a debut run of sell out shows in support of The Chills, The Beths, Marlin’s Dreaming, and Ha the Unclear. In January 2021, Asta Rangu released their first single in four years, I Dream, followed by a spot at Welcome to Nowhere Festival and a 7-date tour of New Zealand.

In 2021 Asta Rangu released the stand alone single Nico, which was followed up in 2022 by Too-Zooma, VIC and LLPLZA, three singles taken from the band's forthcoming debut album ENTRTNMNT (out 27 May 2022).