AMN Reviews: Moloch Conspiracy – The Cave of Metaphysical Darkness & Lights (2018; Eighth Tower Records)

You have probably heard of dark ambient music. This album is deep ambient music, both literally and figuratively. Waves of bassy synth provide shifting drones. Over these are a variety of elements including disjoint percussion, vocals, piano, stringed instruments, and field recordings. The overarching theme is exploring the mysteries of a cave, and the music suits that purpose.

Moloch Conspiracy is French experimentalist Julien A. Lacroix who has put out a number of odd recordings over the last several years. The Cave of Metaphysical Darkness & Lights, however, is a full-blown, thematic album with windswept soundscapes, haunted chanting, and a surprising amount of acoustic improvisation. But the album provides more than just ominous atmospherics; instead, is an immersion into an unknown (and perhaps unknowable) subterranean world of wonder and fear.

To that point, Kulullû, the third track, combines discordant drones, echoing arrhythmic percussion, sparse piano chords, a theme plucked on a gusle (an Eastern European stringed instrument used in the folk tradition), and subtle vocalizations. The result is an earthiness unlike many dark ambient offerings that rely primarily on technology for their sonic vocabularies.

Lacroix is a detail-oriented arranger whose musical imagery is vivid and dense. Each listen of the album brings forth new elements and further appreciation of its scope and delicacy. You can feel and hear the water dripping from walls of Lacroix’s cave, a destination well worth exploring.

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