The first brush with Mahjoop 18 months ago felt like a trip back in time. Ravel, the latest from the duo, is a trip through space. But not the layers past the ozone; not the realm in which planet and stars rotate in nothingness. Rather, Ravel is an exploration of our tangible planet. The duo of Mahjoop go spelunking (apropos considering the label on which this and their previous effort was released) into the muck and mire of a dying Earth. It’s a lot of heavy breathing, both from the limited air flow so deep inside this cave system, but also due to holding one’s breath to hear the echoes of the ancients bouncing off sedimentary walls. The landscape booms and shakes, causing reverberations to bounce into one ear, jarring the skull space between cranium and brain, and then slowly leaking out the other ear. Ravel can be hard to listen to (the metallic scraps dissecting “Liga” perfectly encapsulating the last line of a brain being overloaded with unpleasant noise), but it’s the sound of despair and escape that we need to experience. If not for the deep dive into the molten core of a volatile planet at war with humanity as much as it is with itself, then we would forget just how valuable and precious this hunk of rock is. I don’t believe Mahjoop’s goal was to speak to some conservation movement, but Ravel certainly seems to capture a lively, often hostile planet that houses all the beautiful things we take for granted. The same can be said for the musical noise of Mahjoop, perfectly encapsulating those discombobulated sounds of everyday life and blending them into an orchestra of chaotic majesty.