Kosmonautik Pilgrimage by Anchor & BurdenRelease date: January 13, 2023
Label: MoonJune Records
Whenever I put an album on from the MoonJune label, I’m always transfixed to see what Leonardo Pavkovic is about to take me on his magic carpet. Whether it’s experimental, insane arrangements, exotic worlds, or paying nod to the mighty Crims, he always has a card underneath his sleeve. But when it comes to Markus Reuter, it’s always going to be a big challenge when we as listeners are put on that dangerous tightrope between mountains.
Anchor and Burden, which is more than just a super group, Reuter enters round two with the band by pushing the envelope even further. They have recorded five albums going back to 2021 with original drummer Shawn Crowder. With Crowder returning home back in the States, Markus has recruited Asaf Sirkis who has been his partner-in-crime since 2016.
Listening to Kosmonautik Pilgrimage is like walking through an insane asylum, with a room full of mirrors, revealing your past and present coming to life in all forms. I wouldn’t compare it to Crimson, but some stronger elements of Elephant9’s collaboration with guitarist Reine Fiske during the Silver Mountain period.
Ruben Pang’s artwork says it all as the music prepares you to go on this hallucinogenic trip that’ll shit your pants, constantly! With the last three minutes on ‘Hissing Skin’ it becomes a hay-wiring texture as the quartet goes into a maddening climax between their Touch Guitars and Sirkis’ chaotic sound of the drums going batshit crazy.
‘The Core is Organic’ envisions the opening riff of ‘Roadhouse Blues’ from The Doors that is played on a loop. You can tell that Reuter and Dowerk are channeling each other by reaching the largest scale with pounding beats, alarming silhouettes, and thunderous roars for a brief second while the enormous clock on the wall, starts to tick rapidly.
Both ‘Secret Laboratory’ and ‘Corridors of Silent Scream,’ not only walks into the Berlin School of Music and Sonar, but in the territories of ‘60s electronic duo Silver Apples. It’s quite a mixture for Wöstheinrich honouring both the late great Simeon Coxe, and an early Klaus Schulze handling the sessions of the Zeit album from Tangerine Dream during their Ohr years.
What’s really interesting with Anchor and Burden’s music is that they put you in this surreal world of Dadaism at its finest. You get to participate in their own take of musical chairs. But with the clock ticking in really fast, you need to make it to your seat in time before the explosion goes off.
The closing sections from ‘Royal Augmentation’ to ‘Crown Hive’ is like entering this nightmarish amusement park filled with terror, freakish rides, and phantasmagorical imagery as you become part of the fun that’ll haunt you for the rest of time. Anchor & Burden’s latest album may not be everyone’s cup of tea, per se.
But what they’ve done is to put listeners in a front-row seat and prepare to experience the danger that awaits you. If you think they’re going to put in a ballad on you, think again. Because Anchor and Burden’s music, will be inside your dreams, forever and ever.