Release Date: Feb 3, 2017
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Four albums deep, Moon Duo have grown somewhat predictable. The collaboration of Wooden Shijps' guitar-warlock Ripley Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada has always been built on a steady but enjoyable mix of elements: corroded guitars, loopy keyboard lines, krautrock rhythms, and psychedelic strains conjuring both the whirling cosmos and droning abyss. Their new album Occult Architecture Vol.
When Wooden Shjips guitarist Ripley Johnson splintered off in the late 2000s to form Moon Duo with Sanae Yamada, he could hardly have predicted that his brand of distorted, psych-inflected guitar music would become so de rigueur nearly a decade later. And yet here we are, half-way through the band's conceptual double album based around the Taoist philosophical principle of Yin and Yang. Funny how things work out.
Though their touchstones are still the fuzzed guitars of the early Cramps and Suicide's prime-time electronic throb, to suggest that Moon Duo (now confusingly expanded to a trio) haven't moved on is like saying that a Boeing 747 is hardly an improvement on the Wright Brothers' Flyer 1..
"We dig repetition / We dig repetition / We dig repetition in the music / And we're never going to lose it / All you daughters and sons / Who are sick of fancy music / We dig repetition / Repetition in the drums / And we're never going to lose it / This is the three R's / The three R's / Repetition, repetition, repetition" Repetition: the most underrated of musical virtues, as Mark E Smith so sagely observed in The Fall's 1979 song of the same name. It's a mantra that Erik 'Ripley' Johnson (guitars, vocals) and Sanae Yamada (keyboards, vocals) have taken earnestly to heart in their collective guise as Moon Duo. Their music is invariably (and I choose that word deliberately) underpinned by galloping motorik beats, the same rhythmic device that has metaphorically and literally conveyed locomotion from Elvis Presley's 'Mystery Train' to Kraftwerk's 'Trans Europe Express' and beyond.
Moon Duo Whether singles or groups, new or old, jazz or rock, 7"s or digital-only releases, or any number of other boxes you could wish to check, this installment of our Dust column probably has it. Bill Meyer, Jennifer Kelly, Derek Taylor, and Ian Mathers contribute short reviews on everything from long-toiling Oregonian saxophonists to bedroom producers from Ontario. Acts include Donovan Quinn, Moon Duo, Eye, DenMother, Crystal Myslajek, The Urge Trio, Mint Mile, and the Rich Hally 5.