Picking my favorite Müldeponie album is sort of like picking your favorite child. There have been around a dozen or so albums from the French outfit thus far and each of them has stretched the limits of imagination and storytelling. Each album reveals something new about the people that made the music and the people that listen to the music. No matter the order one listens to them in, there is always a progression in the sound. How does that nonsensical time travel stuff work? I would say let’s find out but you know as well as I do that I know nothing about that stuff, if I did I would probably not be writing reviews for dungeon synth albums. It wasn’t an easy task, but I did come up with my favorite Müldeponie album: their most recently album, The Lord of Time.
First some stray thoughts on the album and its appearance. One, judging just from the album’s cover this could be an album that covers the Knights Templar, western esotericism, ancient lunar societies, or maybe all of the above, it’s eclectic, ethereal, and mystical. Two, the logo looks both simple and gorgeous at the same time, it reminds me of an atmospheric black metal band’s logo. Three, apparently Google thinks of Müldeponie as an avant garde jazz band, that’s both amusing and, the more I think about it, at least a little true. Dungeon Jazz! It’s more than that of course but these guys know how to set a mood.
I was joking when I said dungeon jazz but the more I think about it, the more it’s creeping up on me. Clearly the music of Müldeponie is more complex than just dungeon synth, it’s more than ambient too, so what would we call it? I know there’s no actual need to label it but I have compulsive need to give things imaginative labels. Why? No idea but it’s fun for me. The jazz elements, though few and far between, are very strong. If you’ve heard of Bohren & der Club of Gore, you know the dark, doomy style of jazz that Müldeponie plays. The music has a dark and smoky atmosphere, a grim yet still clear sound. The style is absolutely fantastic, it tells a story that transcends the ideas of time and space but I would never call the album a space ambient album. It’s more than that and it’s less than that. The major topic that Müldeponie tackle in the album is the effect of time on the king, or the idea of the king. We like to think that time doesn’t affect our rulers, that they are immune to the ravages of time. But are they? Müldeponie tackles the topic by creating a king, a ruler, that is immune, that makes the universe bow to his will rather than bowing to the laws of nature.
The way that space ambient and medieval ambient are combined and mixed on this album is nothing short of spectacular. Two genres, by in terms of music and literature, that I love but two genres I never saw blending with any sort of cohesion. Müldeponie is either the exception that proves the rule or the exception that smashes the rule. I haven’t figured that part out yet but nevertheless Müldeponie made something incredibly catchy here. It’s ancient and it’s vast. The music is a labyrinth of melodies and themes and instruments. It’s a sonic tapestry that has managed to blend oil and water together to make something incredibly unique and incredibly listenable.
Listen and support the music!