Saturday, 27 July 2019
Monocube & Troum - Contemplator Caeli.
Album: Contemplator Caeli
Artist: Monocube & Troum
Label: Transgredient Records (Drone Records)
Catalogue no: TR-14
1. Circularis et Perpetua
2. Processio Aequinoctiorum
3. Stellae Errantis
What is one to do when two favourite artists join forces? Troum, a project whose work I’ve had a penchant for since I discovered them about a decade ago through my work for another review site, collaborate on this four-track album with a recent discovery of mine, Monocube (my review of their Substratum can be found elsewhere on this blog). And this joint project looks outward, into the vast spaces above our heads, to seek the numinous and fundamental in the stars, and connect with the celestial spirit that moves the universe.
This concept goes to the heart Contemplator Caeli, which is Latin for ‘Look [to the] air’ or, in modern parlance, ‘Look to the skies’. The ancients believed that all wisdom, of things natural and supernatural, was contained in the celestial wonders of the night sky, wherein harmony ruled and everything was perfection. It’s an expansive concept, and these two projects follow suit with some graceful, uplifting, and soaring music. ‘Circularis et Perpetua’ establishes the manifesto by freeing our minds from gravity and sending us swooping and swirling amongst the endless flows of time and space. Wisdom and knowledge have no beginning or end, and both stretch from alpha to omega in a never-ending process of discovery, reception, acceptance, and then eventual replacement with new knowledge.
The mournful sawed strings, set against a cavernous backdrop, of ‘Processio Aequinoctorium’ is an instructional warning that in order to move forward we must demolish the old certainties and embrace new knowledge. As sentient beings we are not static, physically or mentally, and that our relationship with the universe around us and the wisdom it contains is in constant flux. To remain standing still is to rot and decay, and our continuing evolution depends on us reaching ever forwards into the future.
The following track, ‘Stellae Errantis’, confronts us with the majesty of the universe itself. The ancients often assigned meanings to both individual stars and to groupings of stars, because to them they contained valuable information and lessons for us mortals. Here, a raspy susurration blows our astral mind vehicles as if we were wandering stars ourselves, guiding us on our journey of knowledge-gathering. And out of that seeming chaos of random information comes order and stability, harmony and connection, as the quiet power of ‘Digressio’ underscores. Herein it leads us to the notion that, in spite of its immensity and vast potential, there is an underlying quality that keeps it all together and stops it from disintegrating. What that quality may be is up to us as individuals to perceive, but be assured it exists, as intangible to the physical senses as it is. One thing we can be all sure of – it is bright, beautiful, dark, and dangerous. Just as these four tracks are.
Psymon Marshall 2019.