Review: Makemake - From The Earth To The Moon

Make MakeI press play. Suddenly I’m squatting amidst the junk objects and cymbals, with two well-worn guitar amplifiers pointing inward from either side. The room feels dank and unpleasantly cramped. In my mind, Makemake are hunched over their speakers like wretched beasts locked away in the dark, banished from the outside world for their obsessive, occasionally gruesome pursuits of contorting sound. The volume feels deliberate dialled down to minimise intrusions upon those that find Makemake little more than a sinful compulsion; they play for themselves exclusively, engaged in a closed feedback loop of persistent experiment and gratified curiosity. Galvanised by privacy and solitude, the duo send sudden inspiration and creative quirks trampling over the counter-voice of moderation and cautious forethought. Part rehearsal space, part unlicensed laboratory of impulse.

Strings feature heavily: the crooked clunks of prepared guitars, the lament of misused violin bows, the drawl of drunken free jazz imitation. At certain points I can hear the sounds of knuckles and fingernails attacking the strings, with friction cutting viscerally above the muddier, amplified alter-ego. Everything feels eroded and second-hand, the timbre fatigued by the passing of time and accumulation of neglect; I can hear the dents in cymbals as they wash outward, and wince as the strings wobble out of tune as their elastic strength is sapped by oxidation. From The Earth To The Moon puts a momentary halt to the process of degradation, rousing aged materials with fresh improvisatory spirit. For 40 minutes, even the most decrepit sonic materials bounce and bend with the jubilation of the new and the now.