German master of guitar craft looks for virtual reality to land on a circular outlet in the very nature of this world.
There’s always logic, straightforward or strange, to what Markus Reuter does, and more often than not it’s up to the listener to invest their time, investigate the Berlin artist’s method and find his motif and motive on a particular album. Judging by the titles of this record’s cuts, one could assume a séance was taking place at La Casa Murada, in Spain, on May 15th, 2019, but in fact the MoonJune roster’s favorite creative refuge saw a gathering of kindred spirits then. No wonder the resulting melodic cycle placed a piece tagged “Dice I” after “Dice II” – the labels appended, respectively, to “The Occult” and the number that lent the entire opus its theme.
The five epics on offer don’t linger in sonic limbo for long, as Asaf Sirkis’ rimshots give his host’s opening soundscape a steady groove and an occasional stumble around which Markus and Mark Wingfield weave guitar anxiety. “Weave” means no angularity here, despite a pronounced rock edge to the ensemble’s fusion that won’t get lost even when Robert Rich’s textures try to occupy the space – only to subside before the riffs from David Cross‘ ivories and Fabio Trentini’s elastic bass lines. With an immense dynamic expanse to it all, the chug of the aforementioned hint at Ouija board may seem too down-to-earth, yet how else electric howls can be informed with a sense of motion and calamity where Cross’ violin and Reuter’s keyboards mingle and clash?
If not for the six-string wigouts, the overall image would border on incidental music, but the frequent assaults must prevent such an outcome. Yet while “Solve Et Coagula (Ghost I)” – other specters aren’t in this album’s scope – feels solemn and simultaneously ethereal and intense, what with the snippets of strum and crystal shards augmenting the drift, the abstract ebb of “Bubble Bubble Bubble Bath (Wink)” wraps the same clang and blend in suspense, slowing down its romantic menace and setting instruments apart to invoke a wondrous sparseness which is very much tangible, especially once cosmic signals hit the drum skins and let faux-orchestral perspective unfold like a shield.
And that’s exactly the continuum for “Bubble Bubble Bubble Song (Sighs)” to flaunt a lullaby, display the phantoms of the preceding pieces – these barely lit shadows of a trip inside a psyche – and wind down the journey’s scope. Some should think there’s chaos reigning there, but in fact a finely defined method rules the OCULUS den: nothing is sacred, indeed, because those who aren’t scared to go beyond the orthodox are demiurges in their own right.