Master Musicians of Bukkake - Far West [Important Records - 2013]Not to be confused with the Master Musicians of Jajouka, MMOB are playful ethnographic music fakers from Seattle whose name actually derives from a pornographic pastime invented by the Japanese and taken to extremes by the Germans!
The Seattle group features members of Sunn O))) and Earth but unlike those groups the emphasis here is more on the creation of a new form of world music from a world that doesn’t exist. Much like Cans Ethnological Forgery series of pieces where they created exotic and otherworldly music, MMOB creates soundscapes that conjure up images of primitive exotic cultures unknown to man.
Following on from the ‘Totem’ series of albums ‘Far West’ begins with throbbing power electronics which are quickly followed by metallic pulses and chimes as the ceremony begins. An acoustic guitar refrain appears above the synthesized pulse and the whole thing suddenly becomes the darker twin of Pink Floyds ‘Welcome to the Machine’. It sweeps along in a majestic fashion for six minutes before reaching its climax.
‘Gnomi’ follows – a brooding piece of dark acid folk with chanting as the ritual deepens. This piece is very filmic in quality and features some nice synth sequences in its mid-section. Dreams of David Lynch!
Next track is ‘Arche’ which begins with tribal drums, guitars and what sounds like bone trumpets a la Psychic TV. Indeed, the feeling here is vey similar to PTVs similar experiments on their ‘Themes ‘series of albums. The track develops into more traditional psychedelia with the appearance midway of fuzzy keyboards and drums.
Buzzing analogue synthesizers herald ‘Cave of Light’ with waves of undulating sound soon joined by tribal percussion, exotic, almost Gregorian vocals and some psychedelic fuzz guitar. Horns join and we are floating through a languid sound world from some weird alien village. Very atmospheric and at over nine minutes the longest piece on the album.
‘You are a Dream’ comes next with a opening which conjures up the opening to’ 2001 a Space Odyssey’. Huge organ chords hang in the air like sentinels, moving imperceptibly through space. Dreamy voices and angelic synths join the floating worlds as an atmosphere of dread crystallises from the air. This would make a great soundtrack to an ‘Alien’ like deep space horror movie.
Finally we reach the ‘Circular Ruins’ where our voyage ends with gentle vocal chanting and a relaxed beat similar to The Polyphonic Spree. A steady beat and sax refrains lead to a peaceful and fulfilled end of what has been a fascinating and inspiring journey through alien landscapes and flights of imagination.
I would have liked more development of the themes explored on this album and to hear how the pieces might have developed had they been expanded more and allowed to reach further into the worlds they created but otherwise, recommended.Dave Biddulph