Part One of a two part record by Moon Duo, the motorik duo of Sanae Yamada and Wooden Shjips man Ripley Johnson. You know how this game works by now: drum machines grooving endlessly beneath a constantly shifting carpet of fuzzed-guitar. Yum! Occult Architecture Vol. 1 is the dark and wintery part of the pair. Out on Sacred Bones.
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Ah Moon Duo: we meet again. I’m a little older, you’re a little older… but we’re both working the same dead end jobs. These motorik malcontents have been towing the party line of Sacred Bones for a while now, impressing with the rigid sparkle tones of ‘Shadow of the Sun’ a couple years back in perhaps their biggest achievement to date. Now they’re knocking it out of the galaxian park with ‘Occult Architecture’, a two part psychedelic epic that begins with this here volume the first.
If you’ve listened to Moon Duo, you well and truly know what to expect -- the tunes are constrained by excellent drum programs, the synths are space-textured and the vocals as monotonous as Matthew McConaughey being absorbed by a black hole. The guitars are free, though: they jam from side to side and there and back again, often offering a gnarlier counterpoint to the band’s whistle-clean sound through a kind of distortion that belongs to the hard psychedelics -- think the Heads softened the fuck out, and you'll understand why Moon Duo are kinda irreplaceable. What they do is between psych rock meditation and shit-kicking.
If you’re willing to submit to the repetitive and, this time round, extremely muted sound Moon Duo are offering, this record reaps benefits and then some: “Cold Fear” is as downbeat as a KVB tune at first, the duo exchanging different mutters under a hypnotic guitar line -- through this, though, it opens up to a gorgeous chord and into a prettier, more hopeful chorus. By dragging us through their sluggish rhythms, Moon Duo max out their cathartic moments, getting super fucking bouncy on “Cross-Town Fade” or creating a new wave pantomime on “Will of the Devil”. Some of this stuff is a coldwaver’s delight -- the lot of it is Moon Duo paradise, establishing once and for all that space is a good place to be a goth.
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- Occult Architecture Vol. 1 by Moon Duo
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