Oc­cult Ar­chi­tec­ture Vol. 1 (Sa­cred Bones)

Pasatiempo - - PASA TEMPOS -

Gui­tarist Ri­p­ley John­son and key­boardist Sanae Ya­mada have spent their ca­reers as Moon Duo con­coct­ing psy­che­delic jams that toy with no­tions of du­al­ity, bal­ance, cir­cles, and na­ture, with a dash of mys­ti­cism sprin­kled in. Their lat­est en­deavor seems to be the cul­mi­na­tion of such ob­ses­sions: It’s a two-al­bum pro­ject cen­tered around the con­cept of the yin-yang. This al­bum, the first of the two, fo­cuses on the yin — loosely trans­lated as the pas­sive, dark, cold side of the di­chotomy. The irony of this des­ig­na­tion, how­ever, is that this could be the most mu­si­cally up­beat al­bum Moon Duo has ever made. A sprightly bounce pro­pels “Cross-Town Fade” into splat­ters of gui­tar, and clos­ing track “White Rose” un­furls into 10 min­utes of bliss­ful, krautrock-in­spired per­cus­sion. The lyrics, how­ever, of­ten con­tra­dict the joy­ful vibe: “Cold Fear” paints an im­age of lone­li­ness and de­pres­sion, yet rides atop a peppy drum beat, hand­claps, and col­or­ful bursts of syn­the­siz­ers. “Cult of Moloch” dips into epic metal riffs wor­thy of its title, and “Will of the Devil” seems to have too much fun with its go-go rhythm to be sink­ing into de­spair. Nat­u­rally, this jux­ta­po­si­tion is all part of the fun with a yin-yan­gin­spired con­cept — it’s en­tirely pos­si­ble that Oc­cult Ar­chi­tec­ture Vol. 2 will fea­ture hope­ful lyrics and heavy, fore­bod­ing music. — Robert Ker

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