Master Musicians of BukkakeThe Master Musicians of Bukkake are a sort of supergroup of various underground Pacific northwest  bands so hip my trousers are not fashionable enough to allow me to mention them. Oh, alright, there are probably members of Sun City Girls, Earth and Burning Witch involved, amongst others, but their exact identities remain a mystery. Their name is a sort of pun on the Master Musicians of Joujouka, a famous Berber sufi trance band, who were much admired back in the 1960’s. Now given the jokey and filthy band name and seeing as this could be considered a side project I was afraid this could turn out to be a terribly exclusive ‘muso’ in-joke; lots of clever people twatting about in the studio for their own amusement, but of little interest to the straight world. I’m glad to report that this is not the case.

‘White Mountain Return’ immediately beguiles with sinister, pulsing electronica and rattling percussion, an acoustic guitar strums over the top then eastern sounding synth melodies spring to life . This is a brilliantly realised synthesis of ancient and modern. It builds like the climax to some Middle Eastern royal procession arriving at a temple or palace. The whole experience is very filmic, but this is not mere soundtrack music, this is very much the main event. The band have described their sound as ‘ritualistic electric excursions’, and pompous as that sounds it exactly fits their music.

Although you would have to call the vibe psychedelic, this is often heavy, dark and troubling stuff. It’s not hippy-dippy weirdness, it’s much more threatening.  ‘Gnomi’ may start with a folky, loping melody but it begins to hint at danger ahead in the deep voiced ‘turn around’ lyrical counterpoints and throbbing bass. ‘Arche’ is a like a futuristic call to prayer orchestrated by Godspeed! You Black Emporer. It is perhaps, unusually, recognisably rock music early on, with guitars crashing and echoing over tribal drums.

Centre-piece and, for me one of the highlights of this album is ‘Cave of Light – Prima Materi’ which starts with bubbling, organic sounding electronica (very Panda Bear) then moves into Gregorian chant vocals meets Ennio Morricone style choirs, brass and weird whipcrack percussion. This is big music, totally immersive and fantastic in scope. ‘You Are A Dream Like  Your Dreamer – The Dark Peace’ is Holst’s ‘Planet Suite’ as remixed by Hawkwind. It speaks of infinite blackness and the search for light. There is so much diversity here, I think you’ll agree.

‘Circular Ruins’ drifts in on acoustic guitars, a Pink Floyd-esque melody with pretty choral vocals that feels like pre- christian English folk music. ‘Circular Ruin’ could of course refer to Stone Henge but I may be being a little literal! The brass that swells and the swooping guitars as the track progresses create one of the most beautiful passages of music I’ve heard recently and calls to mind Sufjan Steven’s ”The Age of Adz” album. It ends with what sounds like steel drums or heavily treated cowbells to fantastically twinkly effect. It’s gorgeous! What a finish! It makes you want to immediately put it on again from the start.

Don’t be afraid to visit ”The Far West”. It is daunting, I’ll grant you, but it’s one of the most rewarding trips you’ll ever take.

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