The Eternal by Tim Motzer / Gregg Bendian

Release date: January 4, 2024
Label: 1k Recordings

Cinematic, surreal, unsettling, and very threatening. Those are the key ingredients that you need to weather massive hurricane, empowering the danger that’s beyond our horizon. For Tim Motzer and Gregg Bendian, their improvisational debut as a duo, marks the first collaboration by working together on The Eternal.

Listening to this album, it travels through the various corridors by combining the sounds of Terry Riley, the Ohr years of Tangerine Dream from 1970 to 1973, Markus Reuter, and the combining forces of Cluster’s Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius. I can tell there’s the classic sound of Stockhausen which was inspired for this project. Not only that, but the krautrock genre which sparks this electrical fire that spreads throughout the entire city.

‘Beneath The Hallow Grounds’ opens up this massive can of worms with Bendian’s vibraphones and Motzer’s e-bow, adding that uncanny pin drop, not knowing when the danger is going to hit. With its Frippertronic-sque vibration, the duo takes this deep walk down towards a flight of stairs to embrace the feedback, fuzztones, and putting you in this meditated stance.

‘Stars Above, Stars Within’ features this droning effect Motzer creates while the bowed cymbals and gong noises by Bendian puts you in this Zeit-like scenario as the duo channel the evil forces of not just the instrumental section from King Crimson’s ‘Starless’, but an extended version of ‘Nebulous Dawn’.

Now this is where everything becomes a guide to find your inner self. With ‘A Shaman’s Spell’ Bendian is very much a mad scientist, cooking up some weird experiments inside his laboratory. But its Motzer’s bowed guitar that sends the listener into this hope of finding the sense of moving forward and never looking back.

The closing 28-minute title-track blends everything into a massive circle. Listening to the electrical loop, it almost reminded me of Ratledge’s chaotic noise that he does on the opening track ‘Facelift’ from the Soft Machine’s Third album in 1970. And of course, Nick Mason’s composition ‘The Grand Vizer’s Garden Party’ off on Pink Floyd 1969’s unsung masterpiece, Ummagumma.

The duo brings in these maddening alarms to set up the fallout shelter in case the big one starts to drop in a nano second. You have a clock-ticking effect, going rampant before it starts to slow down while Bendian makes his percussion have a talk with Motzer’s instruments inside the loony bin.

Meanwhile, Tim goes into this insane droning momentum. And believe me, once Tim goes into that momentum, he doesn’t fuck around. He starts to get down to business. It all starts to go batshit crazy in the last 10 minutes of the piece as he and Bendian go head-to-head in the boxing ring as if they transformed themselves into Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for one final match in the Bronx with the sounds of Cluster setting up the scenery.

The Eternal itself is going to be one of those albums that’ll be talked about in the years to come. It’ll probably be up there with; Tangerine Dream’s Zeit, Magma’s Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh, Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air, Aphrodite’s Child’s 666, and of course the first two Cluster albums. Motzer and Bendian are geniuses by bringing their creation to life. And we were the luckiest ones on the planet earth to experience the dangerous journey in which The Eternal is based on.

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