Dune - Momentous
Dune's new full-length album "Momentous" is breathtakingly cinematic and I couldn't help but get vivid mental visuals while listening. For me, these visuals ranged from a hypothetical AAA-tier videogames where hi-tech warfare is played out in a very old part of the world, to dense urban sprawls where emotional tales are enacted. It's this dichotomy of aesthetics with an inescapably filmic flair that defines Dune, where rumbling distortion and snappy static surrounds earthy elements and organic textures. Occasional male vocals, ethnic percussion and loops of ancient-sounding instruments are underscored by filtered electronic beats and swelling strings, giving a timeless and superbly executed level of production. And the eastern-sounding melodies that stylize many of the songs lend the album a well-informed sense of thematic cohesion and musical clout.
I love albums that explore an idea and really flesh it out. While solo composer/producer Juan Espinosa's other projects Cellmod and Mekotam explore sounds that can be umbrella'd under inherently expansive genre labels such as industrial and EDM, Dune appears to be a more honed in, personal exploration of an apparent love affair with organically manipulated sounds and hauntingly old-world musical modes. It’s great to hear this tangent explored to create a world unique to the Dune project.
There's a healthy dose of "How to Destroy Angels" in this Dune album, as well as perhaps some Rob Dougan, but beyond that it's hard to find comparisons to acts outside of Juan's own discography. It's the longer songs that I prefer on this album, as I didn't want for any particular piece to end while listening, but there are a lot of ideas and moods on this album which are enjoyable from start to finish. While primarily instrumental, the songs maintain a tension with mid-tempo beats and granulated peripheral drones, and keep the themes moving forward in a narrative manner more than enough to hold your attention.
Side-note: I drafted the above review during my first listen-through of the album before looking at the tracklist, and it is funny to note when looking at the track names on subsequent listen-throughs that the first song is actually called 'Dusty War', which lines up eerily well with my impressions for the opening paragraph. I think that's testament to a successfully executed album that delivers on what it sets out to do and creates a tangible atmosphere that definitely translates to the listener's ear. I highly recommend you check out this album and see what visions it inspires for you.
Sep 10 2018
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Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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