Heading into more contemporary territory to end out the working week. Moon Duo, originally from San Francisco, relocated to Portland Oregon – together since 2009 and with four studio albums under their collective belts. And judging by their website and their Facebook page, they are knee-deep in the slog – touring, looking like almost constantly since last year – right now embarking on a swing through Europe which might include Summer festivals.
This session for Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music was done yesterday (February 1st) and comes ahead of shows in Leeds, London, Istanbul, and a pile of dates in Portugal – and that’s just this month. It also serves to promote their latest album, Occult Architecture – a two volume magnum opus, aptly described in their website bio:
Sonically the new records represent a dimensional shift in perspective for the band. Just as the season of autumn represents letting go in the form of trees shedding leaves, so Occult Architecture is a shedding of genre tropes, and an inviting in of new textures and soundscapes reflective of the album’s shimmering Yin/Yang qualities. Intricately structured, it is threads, fragments and traces rather than the direct influences that are heard. Yet listen carefully and clattering of bongos reminiscent of Popol Vuh, the fuzzy synth grind of Throbbing Gristle, the no-fi guitar of Chrome and the echoing infinity of Achim Reichel might all be discerned.
More fragments, threads and traces are apparent in the form of the haunting and trance-like vocals which whisper and wail in between. Meanwhile, a deep interest in synthesis is evident throughout, especially in the keyboard work of Yamada: “I try to employ synths in a really visceral way – so they sound alive and kind of violent at times. On this record I wanted the synth parts to be like textural animals that writhe around one another and react to their surroundings.”
The rhythm and drum duties on the recordings fell to regular tour drummer John Jeffrey, who weaves into the pattern spooky percussion and funk-inspired electro-acoustic beats.
The albums were mixed separately with longtime collaborator Jonas Verwijnen, in different locations further expanding the album’s duality further; Vol. 1 in Berlin and Vol. 2 in Portland.
The result is a journey from darkness into light and from the shady side of the hill and back to the sunny side, reverberating with all that is eternal and infinite in the endless and mysterious architecture in which both sides harmoniously exist.
For those not familiar, here’s a taste of what you’ve been missing these past 9 years. If you’re familiar, then you know and I don’t have to say anything else, other than hit the play button and let it soak in.