Neptunian Maximalism – also known as NNMM are a – wait for it- community of cultural engineers. Musically these Belgians combine drone metal, free jazz and psychedelic music. There are at least 12 members – which are often changing, and this drone orchestra have just released Eons – a 3 disc, 2 hour project on I, Voidhanger.
Where to start? I’ll be honest I don’t know. I have been trying to review this for weeks. Dipping in and out didn’t work. Short bursts do not work.
I tried full immersion – just let the beast play whilst I went about my business . I found this more fruitful but things are so free flowing and random that I found myself lost and I kept looking up to see that an hour had passed and I could not remember any of the music that had wound its ways into my ear canals.
Now, please understand me, this is not because the sounds are mundane or bland. Anything but. It is just that the combination of dark electronics, saxophone, percussion, synths, guitars and a myriad of other instruments weaves such an intricate but confusing musical web that my ears find it easier to allow the sounds to exist on a background level rather than attempt to decipher them.
This is not music you could put on with other people in the room – unless everyone was taking part in a peyote ritual. At times the music is beatific and carries the listener on a cloud of candyfloss, at others as on The Summoning on disc 2 it appears that we are bearing witness to an 8 bit demon erupting into the world on a straight to VHS teen metal horror flick but with an ear-splitting soundtrack composed in Bedlam.
There is no doubting the talent of the musicians in NNMM . Would I ever listen to this in normal circumstances? No. Will I reach for it again when the mood takes me? Yes, I think I would. Sometimes harsh sounds can become comforting white noise and aid concentration and calmness. Two hours is a long time though and the free from structure means that there is no groove to get into – which of course means that NNMM do not get stuck in a rut.
I can honestly say that I could see no patterns in how the album forms – but I kinda feel that that is the pattern.
How is it possible to rate such a piece of art out of 10?
I give it hatstand out of a possible Pyramid