Muur - Bod [Cyclic Law - 2019]MUUR is a darkly obscure Berlin-based project, and Bod is a single track 51-minute slice of occult and blackly ambient focused ritual sound making. The work rises from the deepest abysses to redefine our world of modernity with its abysmal power and gives new space to the long-forgotten knowledge of our ancestors... It certainly gives us an intense listening experience, which requires isolated listening to let all the nuances of the recordings sink in.
Bod offers us a much more complex aesthetic than just vague superimposed noise-collages or monumental soundscapes with underlying uncanny field recordings. The abstract, musical base on which MUUR wants to act is thus an open book whose virgin pages still have to be described. The album can be streamed online at Cyclic Law's Bandcamp site, been purchased as a 4-Panel Digisleeve as physical formate, or viewed as a video on YouTube.
Both, in conception and in terms of composition it's more like a kind of sonorous cathedral. A tonal construction full of details and different tensions. The slowly progressing drones are gradually gaining a percussive dimension, which is additionally fed by the saturation of guitar- that from time to time sounds Black Metal like.
Bod starts with a selection of ominous ritual sounds, evolving into dissonant harmonies of somber drones and resonances paired with haunting whispers, ritualistic guttural vocals and monumental, catacombic and rushing guitar chords with discordant overtones. The background is dominated by primitive drums. Sometimes it seems these percussive elements are accompanied by amplified objects which, in turn, influence the distorted voices and slowly swell louder and louder and ultimately approach the main theme of the piece.
After a while, the ritual drumming sounds transform into a tribal pattern that pushes the intensity higher, only to slip off into a breathtaking atmospheric vocal chant. After just over half of the piece, Bod hits again to fight against tribal, shamanistic drum patterns. The whole thing is now underlain with gloomy field recordings that convey the feeling of a ritual climate. A few moments later, the low tones of electric bass and guitar conquer the piece back and lead us tonally back to the beginning of the ritual.
While listening to Bod images of a veiled high priest of darkness came to my min-they are reciting heretical texts that are meant to appease the ancient elder gods to recreate our modern world. At the end of Bod, the soundscape suddenly comes to a standstill and gives way to a hard guitar tone as if the ritual has been completed and the world had reached a turning point.
The album offers us an extraordinary and highly complex ritual soundscape that not only gives us a sense of melancholy, loneliness, and isolation (which are typical for the genre) but even gives us the chance to see something new, beautiful and returning. This atmospheric ritual has been conceptually skillfully put together and does not only stimulate a kind of reflection of our world of modernity but also shows us that everything is more complex and subtle than we think we know. It is a black mass that tries to open the doors to our interior mind.Jan Warnke