About one year after the grandiose recording Particle Void, also released via mighty Cryo Chamber, the duo Martin Stürtzer and Christian Stritzel return with their fourth masterwork. It was a coincidence, or a prophetic omen, but the day before label owner Simon Heath did send me this album’s download link, I had listened to Particle Void once again because I just felt like. Karma or not, but it made me aroused for some (understandable) reason.
Transient Lunar Phenomenon was recorded by Christian and Martin during different improvised studio sessions in Winter 2018, and like most releases on this Oregon-based label, both mastering and artwork were taken care of by the label master Simon. The cover artwork is quite sober yet intriguing for sure, referring to the ‘cosmic’ approach of the project’s conceptual basics, and to the label’s visuals too (or is it another coincidence?). There are six compositions on the album, lasting for more than fifty minutes (individual tracks clocking in between seven and ten minutes), and there is a video too that is as sober and minimalistic as it is attractive for some (bizarre) reason.
First a word about the title. A transient lunar phenomenon is some strange, unexplainable alteration in colour and light frequency on our moon’s surface, being observed and reported as from the sixth century or so. In 1968, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (aka NASA) did catalogue it officially in a report (called TR R-277, for the interested ones or lost aliens amongst us). And since the conceptual approach of Sphäre Sechs always has a cosmic basement, this album will, indeed, continue the investigation of the very same sources.
Those trusted with the previous works of Sphäre Sechs will have a clue of what this album stands for, but those ‘new’ to this project are kindly invited to continue reading, and to listen to this material via the digital possibilities. But the kind I am, I will go little deeper into the sonic side of this album. It is Drone and it is Ambient. There you have it; you’re welcome…
No, seriously, Transient Lunar Phenomenon indeed is a mixture of both Dark Ambient and Dark Drone Music, but in contrast to many other projects on Cryo Chamber the recording lacks those morbid ‘Lovecraftian’ elements. …which does not mean that it is not at least as darkening and heavy-weighted! Despite the cosmic concept, the whole sounds enormously mystic and mysterious (but so is Outer Space, isn’t it, and seen the concept of mysterious events of our own planet’s satellite’s surface…). The compositions are long-formed, floating and dreamlike, mesmerizing and, to my opinion, even meditative. At first listen this might sound quite ‘light’, yet there is such doomed attitude, such heavy, ominous atmosphere too. Several layers of long-stretched yet somehow beautiful and, at the same time, mesmerizing soundscapes are subtly mingled into a slow-paced spiral, trespassing trusted levels and dimensions of the conscious. Using analog instrumentation and spacelike drones, Sphäre Sechs’ newest epos sort of evolves into an astral soundtrack of post-ritual ambience. And ‘post-ritual’, I know that it might seem strange to use such definition, for this is not exactly ‘ritual’ Ambient Music. Yet there is, in a spiritual way (hey, spi-‘ritual’; another coincidence?), a ritualistic approach when dissecting the different layers of (modular) synth analogy, and I referred to the meditative character before as well. That’s why… ‘A warm cocoon in cold space longing for the enigmas of the solar system and beyond’ too may show a link to the ritual / spiritual post-dimensionalism of this band’s concept, for man cannot understand the unexplainable experiences and events of time and space (like those transient lunar phenomena), or translate it into ‘human language’. That’s where the link with spiritualism and ritualistic events caresses these cosmic and astral activities. …but this brings me too far from the aural essence of this album…
…for the ‘aural essence’, as stated, is oh so inspiring and, at the same time, open-minded. Though the result is not as suffocative and oppressive as several other horrific releases on the label involved, the breath-taking aspect is at least as represented as many other recordings. The whole rather focuses on unphysical spheres than deep-obscure atmospheres, yet still the core is created around mystic / mysterious soundwaves in a mostly elegant manner.
Drone to you all!