I feel the walls closing in on me…

Not sure of it’s the credits from Emusic, the proliferation of end of year lists to peruse, or maybe just the season, but I have a load of great records buzzing around in my earphones just now…

Moon Duo

(Actually, “buzzing” really is the word for this lot. They like a fuzztone for sure. )

I was going to apply my generally haphazard levels of research (ie none) to this article but at the last minute had a quick look online, which is probably a good job. I’d been all set to make a series of clever-clever Wooden Shjips analogies, but it turns out that Moon Duo are in fact a bona-fide WS side project, having been formed in 2009 by WS guitarist Ripley Johnson and partner Sanae Yamada. Apparently, having lost his job around then he found himself with rather more time than previously and two years and two records later, he’s grizzled example to us all.

The more I listen to the new record, Mazes, the more I like it, although it’s hardly a complicated appeal – fuzzed up, recurring guitar riffs, coloured by distorted organ sounds and droning rhythm instruments.

I’ve seen names like Suicide, the Doors and Can being throw around, but I’ll also chuck Lee Perry’s name in there, and not just to be perverse – there’s a fair amount of dubby playing-around-with-the-cans action going on here too. Probably should also mention that you certainly get your money’s worth – for a, well, duo, playing songs based around minimalist and repetitive riffs, they’re not afraid to stretch it out to a full (and full-sounding) six or seven minutes.

I’ve heard Johnson make comments about slower, repetitive styles suiting his Buddhist beliefs and meditative practices. Can’t say I know much about all that but the record’s charm is certainly not a lyrical one – it’s all about the noise. I imagine they’re great fun to see.

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