Moin’s EP begins with a murky statement of purpose, without deviating from the distressing spoken-word sample/slow, billowing doom chords/lock-groove percussion of their debut track off last year’s “Positive/Elsie” split. “Elsie” held its own against Pete Swanson’s gutpunch delirium on the opposite side, but it also successfully announced itself as something new. It was like mini-Mogwai, with only the essential block-shading, and all the better for it.
Moin — the duo of Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews, a.k.a. Raime — continues in a sketchy fashion on EP, combining rote arrangements with a firm grasp of how to set an enthralling table with only a few sonic scraps. Considering the austerity of their components, it’s strange how not-boring these three songs are. This should be Matt Damon-punching robot music, or better yet, Arnold murdering a punk rock Bill Paxton. But it’s not. It’s simmering and spitting with haywire, kinetic negative energy. It’s like Valhalla Rising: it’s stout and it’s sickly and it’s stately and it’s all over with too soon.
Hopefully there will be more sooner than later, as it’s rare to hear four more promising opening salvos of a project. As with Raime’s Quarter Turns and everything before it, there’s an endlessly fascinating spaciousness to their queasy processions. The songs are like rooms, with unpainted corners of dusty gray that possess no dimensional limit. But just as much Moin is the wall, perhaps marble and frigid and smelling of tobacco snot and pigeon. Moin is the door swinging shut, the passageway. You can pass through, but you trap yourself along the way. Raime is either less accessible or just a different, riverbottom type of inaccessible, compared to Moin’s unapologetic, icy-rock composting.
However turgid and potentially depressing it all may be, this impeccably crafted EP (already sold out, of course) is yet another reason to pay close attention to Blackest Ever Black. It’s an invigorating kind of downer, one that makes you feel destruction’s power in the moment as much as its devastating after-effects. It’s the shutdown. Make hoopla. Clatter them lunch trays. One eye blinking, one dry and lidless. Metal filings and ocean breezes blowing.