Review Summary: A change in direction and spirituality.
After finishing the Totem
trilogy, which saw Master Musicians Of Bukkake going to great lengths to convey the listener into an ethereal world, the band is now free to create a different universe through their ritualistic journeys. The Totem
records were characterized by labyrinthine sonic experiments combined with several Eastern influences, using a multitude of exotic patterns and instruments to create an authentic musical mix. There are few moments where MMOB's boundless psychedelia can be called conventional and for the better of it.
However, their latest output, Far West
, is, as the title suggests, a significant turn in vision and atmosphere. The band is trying to recreate, in their own vision, the shamanic ceremonials taking place for millennia in the western part of the world. There is an enigmatic atmosphere surrounding the record, peaking at the most representative track, the centerpiece 'The Cave Of Light: Prima Materia'. With its' cinematic Gregorian chants and monastic vocal delivery, is one of the most focused tracks the band has churned yet. Not much is revealed about the overall theme, leaving the listener to discover its' brooding, arcane origins. The ritual ends with the stark, drone counterpart, 'You Are A Dream Like Your Dreamer: The Dark Peace', feeling like a pagan burial soundtrack.
Even though, Master Musicians Of Bukkake change direction, there are remnants of the original Eastern influences. They can be best heard on the first couple of tracks, 'γη-νομος / Gnomi', and to a certain extent on "White Mountain Return", feeling like the beginning of the journey to the western world. The latter, however, tricks the listener with the pulsing electronic percussion and noisy modular synthesizers, before switching to a more familiar ground. These experiments are welcomed, as they are carefully included and arranged with the rest of the segments. In fact, this ability to take such different sounds and successfully piece them all together is a major positive aspect of MMOB, keeping them a constantly unpredictable band.
Unfortunately, as with other MMOB records, Far West
lacks substance, feeling somewhat incomplete. Yes, there are many interesting passages and transcending moments, but there is not enough "tangible" material left underneath. For example, 'Arche''s minimalistic approach takes four minutes to rise, only to fade the same way it started, without culminating at any point. Also, much like the records preceding it, but taken separately, Far West
feels like a part of a bigger picture, a beginning of a new journey. The band took three years to craft the Totem
records, so it would be logical to further expand the current sonic palette that flourishes towards the end of the album.
In the end, Far West
is another solid effort that only deepens the misty path Master Musicians Of Bukkake have taken, always pushing the music in front and never revealing its' true origins. These guys are great musicians indeed, but their charm needs certain moods to bloom and an open minded approach to the discography. This record, however, might be the easiest to digest yet, as it's best moments are both career highlights and less dense, focusing instead on the atmosphere without overcrowding with unnecessary additions. Also, there is more focus and coherence overall, thus hinting towards the possibility of a magnum opus in the near future.