Oh Astro Champions of Wonder

Oh Astro inhabit a strange no man’s land. Their songs aren’t exactly mash-ups or straight up remixes; however, they aren’t really originals either. In fact, they’re a bit of all three, as samples become the guitar, bass and drums of the duo’s debut, Champions of Wonder. Their song "Hello Fuji Boy,” for example, takes shape through a mass of different pop snippets — most noticeably Hot Chip’s "Boy From School” and Fujiya & Miyagi’s "Ankle Injuries” — and cuts them up so substantially that you almost forget you’re in fact listening to samples. Oh Astro’s "Candy Sun Smiles,” on the other hand, zeroes in on just one track — Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner’s Electronic track "Getting Away With It” — and reworks it into some kind of twisted, yet stunning, tribute. But as great as songs such as these are, the album’s less sample-built offerings, which mostly come as eerie children’s songs, aren’t nearly as striking and pass by without causing much of a stir. Nevertheless, like label-mate Girl Talk, Oh Astro challenge the perceptions of what sample-based music is and can be, which is a good thing no matter how you cut it. (Illegal Art)