(Oxtail Recordings, 2016)
Oh! There is too much joy. There is too much love. Pity me for succumbing to sentiment – I’m an unassailable cynic on most days, and reverence of positivity of any kind is my own personal weakness, a chink in the armor of my rock-solid psyche. Leave it to Rhucle, then, the Tokyo-based manipulator of all good sounds, to burrow beneath the edifice, find his way to the center of my being, and smear his fingerprints all over the bulletproof glass casing that houses my emotional response unit, the dust thick from all the disuse. If you’ve ever wanted to see a cynic reborn in the light of ascendant beauty, look no further than whatever monitor receives the broadcast from the hidden camera you’ve placed in my home, or just imagine that I’m grinning instead of scowling right now if you’re not a total creeper. As for myself, I’m just gonna look in the mirror. I don’t recognize the person I see.
Yeah, the joy, the deep, undulating joy that comes unbidden and warms the cockles of the reluctant heart, that’s what Rhucle’s peddling on The Moon’s Sigh. It’s easy to get caught up in nostalgic melancholy on tapes of this sort, but I’ve pshaw’d that notion to the sideline with a dismissive hand wave. I mean, sure, you come for the “Fragrant Olives” and the “Swallow Tail,” the wonderful long-form ambient passages that announce Rhucle as a staunch manipulator of synth tones. And yes, these long-form ambient passages stir the embers of the past, but there’s something about them that’s of-the-moment, distinctly present ideas of mass positivity, especially as a radical response to this constant state of downtroddenness. And aren’t you so tired of that, so absolutely weary of being weary? How about a mass hug movement that dispenses with the judgment? That’s a movie worthy of a Rhucle soundtrack.
That The Moon’s Sigh is comprised with several significant but short breaks in the ambient action contributes to the overall cohesive song cycle, allowing it to avoid wallowing in staid cliché. Believe it – surprises abound, wonderful and varied, touches that break up the strict ebb and flow of heart-melting tone wash. Although not jarring in the traditional jump-scare sense, variation turns out to add texture and flavor, subtle cues that serve to pump the whole shebang fuller and fuller of happy juice. The immaculate piano shorts “God Send” and “Warp,” along with the closing “Sloth Moth,” prove that you don’t have to rely strictly on electronic pulses to craft a mood in entirety, and Rhucle even adds found-sound source material to the midway points of “Moon Scent I,” “Rabbit’s Café,” and “Moon Scent II.”
I shouldn’t be so enamored of the detail and minutiae, but there you have it. I’m overwhelmed by the vibes, the good news of the holy Rhucle order. Yet I’m still ashamed of my weakness, this confounded happiness that’s coursing through my circulatory system. Help me, somebody, before my smile eats my whole face! Maybe it was meant to be – The Moon’s Sigh as a passage to personal enlightenment, or at least as a restorative balm for the brittle, rough sandpaper that comprises my current outlook. Too much joy, too much love – I’ve forgotten what that feels like. The Rhucle way is the way forward. I’ll persevere into that paradigm if it kills me.