Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 15/4
Occult Architecture vol. 1
Written by: BV on 20/03/2017 10:54:01
To actually discern which tracks belong on which album when it comes to Moon Duo’s discography is a rather daunting task. Moon Duo have made a name for themselves by churning out repetitive kraut-infused tracks at a steady pace few others can manage to follow. Eventually, however, this would presumably come at a rather steep price. “Occult Architecture vol. 1” is the band’s fourth (or fifth depending on how you count it) genuine studio album and, with “Occult Architecture vol. 2” already slated for release, this might seem a bit over the top for an outfit built on repetitive tracks that tend to blend together.
Album opener “The Death Set” is pretty much exactly what you’d expect of a Moon Duo track these days. It has a fairly obvious swagger to it, dominated by the guitar-wizardry of Ripley Johnson. It’s the sound of bleak onset - a foreboding album-opener if you will, making you well-aware of where things are going from here on the remaining six tracks. Even though the band has grown well beyond the scope of their earlier, severely limited dynamics of their lo-fi universe, the band still doesn’t have a ton of dynamic range to spare – an obvious limitation of the guitar-warlock and synth-guru combo, fueled by a drummer to add a driving beat.
They make the best of the self-imposed dynamic range, however, flirting with electronics on tracks like “Cold Fear” where they occasionally delve into a goth-esque, almost corny sounding territory – though with their main sound intact. It’s not hard to imagine what tracks like “Cold Fear” or even “Will of the Devil” would sound like without Sanae Yamada’s imposing synth-textures. They’d be ridiculously flat, to be honest. Thus it is often easy to overlook Yamada’s influence on the music when faced with the sheer wizardry of Ripley Johnson’s massive pedalboard and his infectious guitar-licks – but do remember that duo is not only part of their name, it is also the very essence of the band. There are no ego trips here. One simply wouldn’t work without the other in this particular type of combo.
If you’re new to Moon Duo, I wouldn’t recommend “Occult Architecture vol. 1” as your starting point – the tracks aren’t strong enough by themselves to warrant that. You’d be much better of going all the way back to their first release where the brilliant “Motorcycle, I Love You” dominates the thing. However, if you’re a devout follower you’ll probably dig whatever’s going on in the musical realm of “Occult Architecture vol. 1” – then again, if you are a follower you probably don’t need me to tell you that.
Download: The Death Set, White Rose
For The Fans Of: Wooden Shjips, White Hills, Hookworms
Release date 03.03.2017
Sacred Bones Records
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