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It’s finally here! Mugstar’s ‘Ad Marginem’ seems to have been plagued with pressing problems but the finished product is now on our turntable for the very first time. It comes with a DVD of a film which was apparently made collaboratively with the band as a part of the creative process, but I haven’t seen it so I’m just gonna concentrate on the music here. It o ...

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Ad Marginem by Mugstar
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9/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 05 September 2012

It’s finally here! Mugstar’s ‘Ad Marginem’ seems to have been plagued with pressing problems but the finished product is now on our turntable for the very first time. It comes with a DVD of a film which was apparently made collaboratively with the band as a part of the creative process, but I haven’t seen it so I’m just gonna concentrate on the music here.

It opens with a bass pulse and gentle tribalistic drums and synth drones taking us on a Can-esque patient krauty build-up with a bit of a mystical Grails-esque feel to the melodies as it melds into the hypnotic ‘Memorial’, then they take things down a bit with patient chiming guitar and minimal cymbal dinks, before descending into a droning bit of ominous dark ambience through the first half of ‘Death Hunter’ which is leaving our Business Lady a little disappointed, insisting “I told them not to make it boring!” - although by the end of the song there’s a great krauty bass and drum groove with bright simple guitar lines over the top that sounds like Goat if they were too bonged to construct coherent sentences.

Flip it and ‘Memorial (Recapitulation)’ takes us in a hypnotic Lungfish-meets-Can burble with a two-note kraut bassline and an evocative little jarring chord sequence which builds over the repeato backing. The whole album is very much in the hypno-spiritual kraut chunter vein rather than the more complex and rocky psych-kraut type stuff we’re used to from them, regularly heading into Carlton Melton-esque minimal locked-in groove-rock build-ups (saving the only really full-on rock out for the very last track ‘Rite II’) and beatless Slint-inspired moody low-key composed repeato darkness and pure dark ambient hypno-pulsing creep-outs. It’s making me quite curious to see the film, since some of the more amorphous pieces on the record might benefit from a little context, but alas I cannot watch it now so you’ll have to buy the thing and find out for yourself I suppose.


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