AstroVoyager is the moniker of the French electronic musician (EM) Philippe Fagnoni. Symphotronic Lunation is a much bigger project than his his first full-length album Temporal Gravitation. Inspired by the journey of the famous American spaceship Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong, Fagnoni decided to compose his music as a soundtrack and he ended up by finding Eric Parisi, the right man to make a film. It’s not clear to me why a renowned company like Musea send promos like this one to the press. Only about a third of the music can be reviewed and a mere two video outtakes of a hooded young lady in different positions on her couch and one of her walking in a city form the base to evaluate the movie. Furthermore a video mixing several images from the actual film, an interview with Fagnoni commenting about the whole ‘making of’ this project and finally some images from a ‘work in progress’ from studio sessions. There’s a PDF with biographies of the most important people involved. Fagnoni has a bass player and a drummer joining him as well, but I haven’t been able to hear them play that clearly on the extracts offered. Track 1 is undoubtedly an introduction: mysterious space-like sounds and a mellow female voice invites the listener to board the spacecraft for another journey. The sound of church bells and electronic music mixed with a real orchestra can be heard with sweet relaxing music featuring seemingly a cello as the lead instrument. The next track is completely different, sounds more like disco or dance music from Enigma or Future World Orchestra, heavily influenced by eighties synthi-pop. It has a similar atmosphere as I Like Chopin by Giorgio Moroder, but this time the vocals are a somewhat metallic sounding female singer trying her best to sound like Jane Birkin in Je t’Aime, Moi Non Plus. The same dance & disco beat can be heard in Apollo II, again much influences by bands like Visage. Some Houston-sounds are added to emphasize the fact that we’re travelling in space like the Apollo! Much more gentle, dreamy and really beautiful is the track Moonset, a gorgeous mix of orchestra and electronics and heavenly guitar playing by Amaury Filliard in the middle-section. Spacey sounds and echoing electronics can be heard in the first half of Earthshine and the full orchestra in the second part, but unfortunately it’s really all over before the music get started in the first place! You'll hear the same bells as in the opening track combined with orchestrations and a melancholic cello while the same mellow voice invites the listener to come back on board the Astrovoyager any time again. The first bonus track has a very nice EM-opening and some nice interludes as well, but the rest of the track is really disco while the rhythm becomes more important than the melodies. A bit of the same story in the second bonus track, although the track sounds much more alike as the original one, which leaves me wondering why these bonus tracks are included instead of more music from the original score?
Being familiar with the first album by AstroVoyager, my impression is that this could be a very nice offering indeed, combining a classical orchestra with EM and surely also some progressive influences. I would recommend interested listeners however to have a listening session first before ordering or buying!