Edrina Martinez came up in the beat scene as Astronautica, but that incubator did not ground her in a push-button stasis of pads and programs. With each release since the 2013 debut Replay Last Night, her work has strived towards an organic, live element. At last year’s Low End Theory festival, she was one of the few performers that stepped away from the tools synonymous—SP-404 and Ableton pad—with the illustrious weekly to riff on her milky white guitar and loop live keys. Someday automation might be stripped entirely from Astronautica’s music. Her latest full length, Gemini, intends to marry the studio with the stage while sharing her experience in love, loss, and forgiveness.
“I play guitar on the majority of my tracks,” she said of her discography. “The approach I took with the guitar on Gemini however was a little different than the previous two releases. On the other two I was using the guitar with less form, I used it a lot of the time to create ambient and ethereal sounds. I used lots of different amps, racks, and pick ups… then layered it to mask it as something else. With Gemini, I just wanted to play the guitar as the guitar.”
Guitar is the first instrument heard on Gemini, wailing out in the same key of the soliloquy from Parliament’s Maggot Brain. This is “*69”, a track that meshes pristine electronica with bedroom pop guitar solos. Gemini also marks a shift in Astronautica nixing sampled vocals in favor of empyreal singing that whispers vaporous messages to an absentee lover. She said, “At first it was a little scary for me because I’m not a singer, and have no background in it. But after practicing and building up the confidence to just do it, I really started to feel more comfortable with it.”
“Palm Springs” finds Astronautica at the euphoric height of love, racing through the desert in a getaway car to escape the Inland Empire. “I just want to be alone with you” is repeated across the bouncing bass giving the track the feeling of a snapshot moment in a relationship. That first road trip. There is still loss to come on Gemini, and eventually forgiveness, but “Palm Springs” is a halcyon glimpse into the good life before fear and doubt were possible.
“The record to me is about love lost and found again. Lyrically I wanted to create visual images of love, heartbreak, and forgiveness. Which are all feelings people deal with on the regular. I wanted it to relate to events that have happened in my life, as well as to other people.”