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The Sun or the Moon — Cosmic
(Tonzonen TON087, 2021, CD / 2LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-01-07
This German band formed in 2019, and their debut album, Cosmic, is a tasty slab of space rock. The title track launches us into a quiet groove with percussion, synthesizers, and a simple bass line. The vocals are more chanted than sung, and the drum kit holds off until about three minutes in, when electric piano and fretless bass are added into the mix. The intensity slowly builds, and around the five minute mark, the bass line gets a boost of fuzz and they rock out for a little while, but they soon drop back down for a quieter coda. I really appreciate the sense of dynamics, and the band’s patience in building things up slowly. The Sun or the Moon is not here to blow your ears off with heavy riffs like so many space rock bands — their aim is more subtle, relying on mid-tempo grooves and trippy textures. The bassist calls himself Frank Incense, and also handles the vocals plus assorted guitars and synths; George Nowak is the primary guitarist, and also contributes theremin and “green flute”; Susanne Baum’s keyboards are essential to the music, with phase-shifting strings, bleeping synths, and cool electric piano (though it’s hard to tell what Incense might have a hand in); drummer Niclas Ciriacy is a master of taking easy grooves and embellishing them without messing up the feel. A couple of guests contribute to one track each on guitar and sax. Incense writes the bulk of the material, though Baum’s “Eldorado” (with lyrics taken from Edgar Allen Poe) is a nice change of pace, being based on a piano part with a chord progression rather than a repeating riff like most other tracks. There’s also a cover of the early Pink Floyd B-side “Julia Dream,” here expanded to nearly eight minutes with an instrumental coda featuring piano and fuzz guitar (baritone, I think). Cosmic may be the first album by The Sun or the Moon, but it shows a band ready for prime time, with an engaging sound of their own and the good sense to keep it simple when simple works.
Related artist(s): The Sun or the Moon
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