Architecture & Design

Moon Duo: Occult Architecture Vol. 1 Album Review

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4 albums deep, Moon Duo have actually grown somewhat predictable. The collaboration of Wood Shijps'guitar-warlock Ripley Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada has actually constantly been developed on a consistent however enjoyable mix of elements: corroded guitars, loopy keyboard lines, krautrock rhythms, and psychedelic stress conjuring both the whirling cosmos and droning void. Their brand-new album Occult Architecture Vol. 1 does little to change the formula, but the secret to Moon Duo records has actually always been the strength of the structures. And those already onboard with the band won't be disappointed by the 7 tracks here.

Promoted as representing the depths and changes of the seasons, Occult Architecture Vol. 1explores the bleaker corners of winter and permits Moon Duo to indulge their most ominous tendencies. Like lots of a terrific Moon Duo song, opener "The Death Set" is at once swaggering, hot, and foreboding. Much of their music is subtle cinematic; it's difficult to hear "The Death Set"'s distorted, slow-motion whoosh or its bone-rattling beat and not imagine a character's significant entryway into an unnerving club. Somewhere else, like on "Cold Fear" and "Will of the Devil," they utilize queasy electronic textures to flirt with gothier territory.

Well past the lower-fi nature of their earliest work, Moon Duo still don't run with a ton of dynamic variety. But they utilize those heart-palpitating rhythms and lacerating keyboard lines to develop blown-out, end-times impressives cluttered with subtle twists. Johnson's death-drive guitars move "Cult of Moloch" forward unwaveringly, however interjections of synth and a second, spiraling guitar part make the song seem like it's reaching for spiritual corners of nature. Closer "White Rose"-- one long synth trip-- has a similar impact, unwinding a road into the distance. Moon Duo haven't gone full-on mystic, however; the new album preserves the steely grit of its predecessor, Shadow of the Sun. Theirs is music still meant for barreling down desert highways in a taken automobile, or for the grind and smog of a third-tier commercial city.

That stated, Moon Duo isn't the type of group to make albums with literal thematic angles. Their design has limits, but discernibility is possibly not the point. Moon Duo's accurate mix of traditions and sounds conjures a nihilistic cool, an image of leather-jacketed outlaws chain-smoking in dark alleyways in seedy cities. Occult Architecture Vol. 1 is an excellent record that's at its best when Moon Duo totally succumb to these seductive ideas, like on "The Death Set" or "Creepin.'" Sure, we have actually heard the riff from "Creepin'" before, but it's great to hear it again.

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