Contemplator Caeli by Monocube & Troum

Monocube & Troum | Contemplator Caeli
Transgredient Records (LP/DL)

A first time collaboration between Andrzej Gladuszewski (Monocube) and duo Martin Gitschel and Stefan Knappe (Troum) that at first sounds like a space shuttle landing in a Bavarian village where the essence of folk music effervesces as ginormous engine thrusters enter new territory. There’s a disturbance in the atmospheric equilibrium, that somehow calms, as beguiling as it seems. The orchestral drone coming apart at the seams blends so well with the drifting folky spirit in the air on Circularis Et Perpetua.

Though this hints at their individual work, this is not only a hybrid, but a new dimension, especially in terms of shadowy atmospheres that are shaped by their anonymity. They bend their guitars like rubber, into loops and knots, alongside engaging vocalese braided within the forlorn chords of Precessio Aequinoctiorum. As they attempt to teeter over time and longitude, the piece languishes into a psychedelic whirlpool. Down and around a slippery slope this becomes.

Stimulated by the artifice of an out of focus lens of sorts, this purrs into gentle eruptions that dilate and recess over time. In this way a darker ambient track like Stellae Errantis gives the listener the slip. We’ve all heard countless pieces that rise and fall with momentus crescendos, but this one roars gently from midpoint on, like an elongated foghorn and covert effects. The way these artists have come together is not clever or revolutionary, it’s hard earned and a bit sweaty, grungy actually. The thrust is in the heavy grind of its making, and the delicate nuances employed in doing so.

And just when you might abandon this notion that this could get any deeper alongside comes the gloomy Digressio. It’s pure desolation put to music. Beautiful in its slow dirge of chordal fray, melting into a pool of grayness, quieting with awkward whitenoise silence and heavy sigh drones. Towards the end the volume opens and rises with a streaked sense of light and shade, ending with only breath (a last gasp?). This has got to be one of the more densely atmospheric works to come along in years.

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Berlin’s Sukkeret.og.pepper studio created the striking artwork by taking an image of the Mädchen paired with astronomy and printed in a nice matte finish in gentle violets.

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