Thirsty Ear

The title of Baboon Moon‘s opening track, “Mercury Heart”, is an immediate (involuntary?) nod to David Torn’s Cloud About Mercury, a genuine milestone that came out back in 1987. It seems trumpeter Molvær and comrades Stian Westerhus (guitar) and Erland Dahlen (drums) have got themselves stuck in the same year – there’s a been-there-done-that sigh of resignation to these nine tracks, plagued by over-processed guitars, clichéd loops and Mark Isham-meets-Jon Hassell fog. Not to mention the headache of those whopping drum ‘n’ bass patterns. With its Marc Anderson-like steel drums (Steve Tibbetts’ percussionist, in case you forgot) and pseudo-theremin (“Blue Fandango”, possibly the record’s lowest point), the “texture” is straight out of a National Geographic documentary, complete with fake drama, weedy lyricism and predictable crescendos. An obvious kowtow to ECM at every available opportunity. Add a purportedly “suggestive” piece with superimposed female voices and a black and white close-up of the leader with serious facial attitude and voilà, the product is ready to be played nice and loud while driving on the highway in your 4×4.

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