Occult Architecture, Vol. 1

Moon Duo - Occult Architecture, Vol. 1
Critic Score
Based on 17 reviews
2017 Ratings: #585 / 838
User Score
Based on 48 ratings
2017 Ratings: #634
February 3, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Sacred Bones / Label
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moonduo.org / Website
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Drowned in Sound

Occult Architecture Vol. 1 makes for a sorcerous entreaty to dig that little bit deeper when weighing up the relationship – and clearly quite inspiring power – of the inner world and the outer realm. Here’s hoping the second installment delivers just as forcefully.

The Skinny

Occult Architecture Vol. 2, set to be released in the spring, promises to explore Moon Duo’s brighter side but if ...Vol. 1’s brilliance is anything to go by, Johnson shouldn’t flick the light switch just yet.

The Line of Best Fit
It's easily their best release so far, and despite synth being the predominant sound here, Johnson - a scintillating guitarist - drops low key solos throughout, each guitar break subtly creeping in to elevate the music towards psychedelia in its purest state.
The album is by turns relentless and insistent, occasionally unrelenting and unremitting at the same time, as it ponders the dark seasonal energy of the northern hemisphere.

The latest LP from Moon Duo builds on their psychedelic formula—corroded guitars, kraut rhythms, steely grit—and allows them to indulge their most sinister tendencies.


Occult Architecture Vol. 1 isn't as daring as its literary influences would suggest, but it succeeds often, particularly when it varies from its central sounds. Moon Duo should embrace the change on volume two.

Loud and Quiet

Taking the cycle of the seasons as its muse, the first instalment of the work sees Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada continue to draw on the same touchstones that have shaped their sound to date ... but they have tightened things up, sharpened the edges, and sprinkled some added dissonance for good, foreboding measure.

The 405

Occult Architecture is Moon Duo’s fourth full studio album and it so far finds them sounding more energised and immediate than ever.


The arrival of Occult Architecture Vol 2 later this year will mark another moment of judgement, when Vol. 1 can be assessed in its full context. But for now, it’s a worthy instalment in the Moon Duo canon and a fine record on its own terms.

One with an openness and patience for this type of music, undoubtedly, will be more willing and inclined to perceive their imagery, conceptual curiosities, and principles as opportunities to submit and to drift, rather than—more prosaically, for others—as skillful and accomplished psychedelia with occasional lapses into listlessness.

It really sounds like a basic Moon Duo album, which is still a good thing, but just not as special as it could have been if they had taken another step like they did with Shadow of the Sun.

The Guardian
Undoubtedly one for the purists, but it’s hard not to admire their focus.
Once again, this duo proves that psychedelic rock can be as catchy as any pop music out there but not without sofistication and some kind of improvisation feelings. Good work.
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Year End Lists

#63/Piccadilly Records

Track List

  1. The Death Set
  2. Cold Fear
  3. Creepin’
  4. Cross-Town Fade
  5. Cult of Moloch
  6. Will of the Devil
  7. White Rose
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Added on: November 1, 2016