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Mortal Prophets - Brian Eno In Heaven (Lux Astralis)

27 May 2024

With new music coming out monthly, you are never far away from a new release from John Beckmann’s Mortal Prophets, and that can only be a good thing. No, make that a great thing. And the EP name seems quite telling, perhaps a reference to the ambient music adventures of Eno’s post- Roxy Music days. Indeed, it embraces atmosphere and space, ambience, and restrained cinematic grace just like those albums did.

This is an album of eerie atmospherics more than it is a song in the conventional sense. It consists of five filmic pieces that employ mood as much as music, distantly echoing the early motorik drive of bands such as Neu! and Suicide and blending that with the more drifting sonics of the likes of Eno himself.

The opener, “Drowned Lands,” is a mesmerising and intermeshed place where dark drones and digital motifs, electronic washes, and chiming sonics ebb and flow over a brooding bass backdrop. “Mesmer on Holiday” is haunting, full of bristling menace, and suitably mesmerising, and “Swimming With Witches” feels like the sound of the Big Bang finally being witnessed from all these billions of years later and billions of miles away.

“Fraulein Anna Sprengel” places the enigmatic member of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in an equally enigmatic soundscape, which brings us to the final, titular track. Here, there is a strange, futuristic grace and languid grandeur, a warm wave of sonic intrigue and pulsing synths, an endorphin-releasing sound rush, and a hypnotic spiral of chime and charm.

The trick John manages to pull off with Mortal Prophets’ creations is that balance between the intriguing and the odd-for-odds-sake. The ability to be creative, forward-thinking and unique whilst never leaving the listener behind. It is the musical equivalent of being lost in a strange new city; you marvel at what lies around each corner, along every new street, but you never feel out of your depth. You always know that you will find your way home; it might just take some time. Until then, there is nothing else to do but enjoy the adventure.