Motrik, The MLTYS, Gage Gilmore
Sunday April 3, 2022 07:30 PM EDT
From the venue:Portland-based krautrock band Møtrik formed in 2013, its four members united by a pledge to modernize their beloved genre. Sharing a passion for pioneers like Can, Kraftwerk, and Träd, Gräs och Stenar, the group has demonstrated its ability to deliver over a series of EPs and albums, most recently 2020’s acclaimed Artificial Head. As they continue to experiment by incorporating additional influences—ranging from funk and jazz to psych and prog—Møtrik’s third full-length, a double LP titled MØØN: The Cosmic Electrics of MØTRIK, is a further continuation in the story of an historic genre befitting of the album’s cosmic artwork. As all good album openers should, “Silver Twin” sets the stage for what’s to come on MOON. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and astringent with feathery vocals joyfully fighting to be heard over an explosive din of insistent guitar tones, synth swirls and a bass/drum attack that, at the right volume, might buckle the ground beneath your feet. If you aren’t on board with this track, this album, this band within the first two minutes, you may be a lost cause. With nods to Can’s funkier side (think “One More Night” or “Moonshake”), Møtrik’s “Particle Maze” has, perhaps unwittingly, created a song perfect for adventurous DJs to mix into their retro sets or for even more daring producers to use as sampling fodder. The music within is all groove and melodic whorls intended to send listeners into a glorious, ecstatic trance. A track to either stimulate the mind for deep introspection or the hips for all manner of sweaty movement. “Streamline” is as sleek and aerodynamic as its title. The chugging rhythm suggests forward momentum like a train at its top speed or an airplane at cruising altitude. There’s no slowing it down or diverting it from its path. Into the band’s trajectory explodes bursts of guitar and synth, and Erik Golts’ otherworldly vocals, all of which infuse color and dynamics to an already thrilling journey. Møtrik boldly takes full advantage of the space that four sides of vinyl allow on this latest offering. The middle of the album features two long suites that feel typical of the group’s dynamic live performances, which frequently feature fog cannons, lasers, and other prop homages to Kraftwerk and company. The 13-minute “Stabilize” emerges from a haze of synth pulses and guitar tones, settling into a steady NEU!-like chug that swells and recedes like an ecstatic wave. On “Space Elevator”, the motorik drive from which the band take their name evolves into an insinuating and sensual disco-like throb before the perfect proggy comedown in the final minute.