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Master Musicians Of Bukkake - Totem 2 [Important Records - 2010]

'Totem 2' is the third album of ritual and world music tinged psychedelic ‘n’ doom rock meets 70’s sound tracking project that is Master Musicians Of Bukkake. The project   is a down-played  and seemingly revolving membership super-group that features members of Earth, Asda, Burning Witch, The Diminished Men, along with guest slots from Secret Chiefs 3.

The album offers up six tracks in all that fall between just over a minute to nearly twelve minutes a piece, with the two most lengthy twelve minute tracks bookending each end of the album. And really each track here comes off as a building then receding mixture of: rough ‘n’ ready psychedelic & world music tinged rock, ritual clanging and tinkling, world music percussion, along with touches of doom riffing, 70’s analogue synth whizzers and swoops, and towards the end more dramatic yet a little stilted  horn and string elements. 

The album features 13 sonic participant in all, each of which is often playing multiple instruments- so as you’d expect the sound is often very dense and  multi-layered; this has it’s advantage and disadvantages. On the up-side the music’s nicely swirling, twisting and often snakes off down into interesting sonic tangents and textures. On the downside it sometimes lacks focus, defined melody and structure, with often the feeling of too many cooks spoiling the stew, and there doesn’t really seem one leading or deciding sonic forces at work; which really you must have when you attempting epic multi instrumental tracks such as theses.


So in summing up 'Totem 2' is somewhat of a hit and miss situation- at times it all seems to pull together and you have great, epic and rousing mix of often darkly tinged world music, rock and cinematic emotion. Yet at other times it seems muddled, unfocused and too dense for its own good with instruments coming in at all angles. It’s just really down to if you have patience to sit through the less focused and overly dense stuff to pull out the  really sonic jewels  with-in the album.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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