Having amassed a large catalogue laden with limited edition produce since forming in 2009 – that is as impressive as it is intimidating in its girth – it’s hard to know where to start and stop when approaching the aural attractions of Germany’s Electric Moon. Catch-up completionism is certainly not a simple option for even the hardiest of collectors. Yet an inability to easily explore the trio’s discography means that each arriving release from the group can benefit from being assessed more on its own merits than in comparison to its prequels; like this latest long-player on Sulatron Records.
Breaking away from their notable predilection for live albums of all-new material, Stardust Rituals finds the core co-founding duo of David Schmidt (guitar, e-sitar, effects and various keyboards) and Komet Lulu (bass, vocals) joined by latter-day drummer Marcus Schnitzler for four deep and wide cuts that mix intuitive ensemble playing with scrupulous studio layering. Although bringing along shades of Schmidt and Lulu’s work in the likeminded Zone Six and strands of the former’s Sula Bassana solo project, the record carves out a distinctive character that pays out some generous dividends.
The opening eight minutes of “The Loop” make for an enchanting introduction to Electric Moon’s more subtle and evocative side. Massively but satisfyingly in debt to A Saucerful Of Secrets-to-Meddle-era Pink Floyd, the composition commences as a balmy atmospheric affair before building into space-rock prowler which along the way fastidiously blends entrancing Richard Wright-like keyboard motifs, drugged-out treated vocals, a stalking rhythm section and enveloping six-string squall. In contrast, the ensuing “Stardust (The Picture)” is a far more punishing, immersive and longer set-piece; which cross-references Wooden Shjips’ heavy yet groove-laden West with added guitar pedal warp and weft, to colossal sprawling effect. After such intense humid expansiveness, a far briefer passage of soothing respite comes from the sitar-driven “Astral Hitch Hike”, which marries the mystic voodoo of High Wolf to a jazzy percussive undertow. In its wake, the closing “(You Will) Live Forever Now” holds little back as it extends and thickens the shamanic moodscaping through rising and falling waves of frazzling sculpted-noise, making for a mesmerising as well as menacing 22+ minutes.
Inevitably, just by its sleeve art alone, Stardust Rituals could too quickly be filed next to many other LPs currently emanating from the relentlessly active psych-rock world. However, there is far more going on inside its intimidate interludes and epic splaying than mere worship at the pantheon of choice influences. All in all then, this fifth studio-captured long-player from Electric Moon is an enthralling astral-plane-crossing pleasure that stands up well to repeated airings.