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Neptunian Maximalism

Éons

· by Roxane Labonté

Neptunian Maximalism (also written as NNMM), a Belgian collective working in drone metal, free jazz, and psychedelic music, explores nothing less than the evolution of the human race through its triple album Éons. Japanese painter Kaneko Tomiyuki’s Vajrabhairava appears as the album cover. This oni (demon), with its many faces and snake arms, is representative of the NNMM concept, which branches off left and right under disturbing auspices.

For more than two hours, one is dragged through dark corridors from which one does not come out unscathed. A trance is induced in the first movement, To The Earth (Aker Hu Benben), where these strange masters with an occult and spiritual aura show us the way. We spot a golden vein running through the thick walls by the brass instruments, illuminating the abyss to create a delirious drone-jazz orchestra. 

Vocally, Éons is characterized by shamanic invocations (and calls to the spirits of the ancients, it seems), cries inspired by animal sounds, and… the protolanguage of homo sapiens, as reconstructed by Pierre Lanchantin (a British researcher and archaeologist from the University of Cambridge). Occasional throat singing is also mixed in with these blasphemous litanies. Disoriented? One certainly might be.

In the second movement, To The Moon (Heka Khaibit Sekhem), the thundering brass ensemble becomes a bit more discreet, the band navigating the dark but still mystical waters of its stoner/doom metal. The rhythm section takes on more importance here. The tectonic plates are moving under our feet and lava issues forth, thanks to a greater presence of the bass. The jerky, deconstructed percussion brings even more tribal notions to the ensemble. The pieces are sometimes rather formless, and one wonders what is improvised and what is composed.

To The Sun ( nkh Maât Sia), the third and last movement, presents a work on the power of frequencies, tones, and vibrations, with the drone as the central point. These meditations, which seem like unholy rituals, have strong similarities with the music of Sunn O))). In short, from the Earth, through the Moon, to the Sun, from the drone, to jazz, to metal, it goes in all directions, but this chaos is so well organized that we stop trying to understand it intellectually. You just feel it, that’s all.

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