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Rhein - Moe (Neder Records)

3 December 2023

It’s always good when music is made for something more than just the purpose of entertainment. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing so; the genre of throwaway pop has some of the best music ever written. Still, you could argue that having been afforded such a platform to broadcast to the wider world, it is a wasted opportunity if you merely sing about the fact that your girlfriend’s leaving you or how unfair it is that your mum keeps telling you to tidy your room.

A great example of using the sonic medium to explore further, beyond mere music making, and in this case deeper below the surface of consciousness itself, is “Moe,” the new one from Rhein. The alter-ego of Reiner van den Haak this new project sees him create a bridge between his work as a psychologist and his music making, exploring many of the themes and moods, and with the focus more on the Freudian idea of the associated feelings rather that actual answers, as experienced in his dreams.

And this brooding and seductive alt-rock vehicle he has created perfectly represents those nighttime experiences. Building from wilfully lazy, almost funky beats, Rhein slowly draws in additional sounds and sonics, musical tones and textures around him as he heads for the final destination. Musical weight is added, chiming guitars add slashes of sound, the heat rises, the intensity builds, and slowly, almost imperceptibly, the song moves from an understated, and slightly claustrophobic, dark indie sound to a cavernous alt-rock crescendo.

Of course, in my case at least, there is a lyrical language barrier, but that doesn’t seem to matter; in a song that is about feeling rather than focus, and where the voice is used as much as an instrument as a means of communication, it is the overall effect rather than the specifics that are important here. And the overall effect is fantastic.