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Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol. 2 album review

Spring welcomed through the medium of swampy riffs

Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol. 2 album artwork

There’s an argument to be made – albeit one which will get you thrown out of town – that once you’ve heard one transcendently repetitive psychedelic Krautrock space jam, you’ve pretty much heard them all.

Yet some practitioners of the form are closer to the cosmically hypnotic than others. Portland, Oregon’s Moon Duo – Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada – are among the more vital, vibrant mantra merchants. The second part this year of Occult Architecture is presented as the yang to its predecessor’s yin, the seasonal brightness after that album’s darkness. They’re still reading Aleister Crowley and Colin Wilson, but Satan’s allowing curtains to be opened. After New Dawn has hooked you with its sprays of fuzzy buzz, the miniature porn movie score of Mirror’s Edge winks to acknowledge that, yes, they’ve heard Moon Safari by those sexy boys Air. Sevens has that balance of melody and drive that Secret Machines managed so well, thus allowing Lost In Light to sprawl out languidly like Spiritualized playing Suicide at the wrong speed. Finale Crystal World simply chugs for 10 minutes, adding ballast to Ballard. Ultimately a unit playing this genre either levitates or doesn’t: the mesmeric Duo hover craftily.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.