Search Results for:

MOON DUO

Moon Duo

Mazes - 2021 Reissue

    Formed in San Francisco in 2009 by Wooden Shijps guitarist Ripley Johnson and his partner, Sanae Yamada, Moon Duo’s first two critically acclaimed EPs, Killing Time (2009) and Escape (2010), fused the futuristic pylon hum and transistor reverb of Suicide or Silver Apples with the heat-haze fuzz of American rock ‘n’ roll to create tracks of blistering, 12-cylinder space rock. Now their debut album Mazes, recorded in San Francisco and mixed in Berlin during 2010 as the band prepared to move to the mountains of Colorado, explores a far broader, lighter, sound.

    That’s most clear on the dreamy organ and skipping riff of the title track, which recalls the Velvet Underground, or the handclaps and swinging organ bloops over the potent shredding and guttural riff delivered by Johnson in When You Cut. Throughout, Mazes is the sound of Moon Duo carving out their own identity, looking to the horizon, and moving forward.

    Ripley says that, as a guitarist and songwriter, delineating between Moon Duo and Wooden Shijps “happens naturally. I focus on one project at a time, and the way the two bands operate is very different. And there are certain limitations that Moon Duo is forced to accept, not having a drummer for example, and I really like that. I like the creative challenge of working with limitations. Having done so much home recording cultivates that. Working with one other person is much different from working with four.”

    This meant a vastly different recording process to Moon Duo’s first two EPs, which were recorded fast and at home. Mazes was a more drawn-out process, involving proper recording studios for the first time including the trip to Berlin to mix and re-record certain parts and the track ‘Run Around’. “The working title was Die Blumen [the flowers], so going into the mix sessions we kind of felt like it was becoming our ‘Berlin record’, but in the end it retained the stamp of San Francisco and we liked Mazes title better anyway.” And ultimately, Mazes is a definably American record, recorded against the backdrop of the Johnson and Yamada’s move from the Californian coast to the heights of Colorado. “I think a lot of our music has something to do with the mythology of the road,” muses Moon Duo’s Sanae Yamada. And if Mazes is a quest, a journey through American landscape and music, Johnson concludes that its key is “finding one's place in the world; moving forward, and the different paths one takes moving through life, trying to reach various goals, literally moving; love; pain; change. Or just getting by, and making sense of things”.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: Stripped to a two-piece and featuring keyboards and a drum machine, there's still plenty of roving Ripley guitar lines to keep the Shijps-heads happy on this, their second album.

    Moon Duo

    Circles - 2021 Reissue

      Circles is the product of a long winter’s isolation in the Rocky Mountains, though the road to its fruition stretched over six months and several locations. The groundwork for the album was laid at the band’s home in Blue River, Colorado in the early months of 2012, where all songs were written, and the preliminary tracks recorded. For two weeks in early April, Moon Duo moved into a small apartment above Lucky Cat Recordings in San Francisco for an additional recording session with engineer Phil Manley (Trans Am, Life Coach). Like it’s predecessor, the album was mixed and tweaked at Kaiku Studios in Berlin.

      Inspiration for many of the songs themes, as well as the title Circles, came from Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay by the same name, on the symbol and nature of "the flying Perfect." From the opening lines: "The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end." And so it goes. Rust never sleeps.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Andy says: Do you like The Stooges and Suicide and driving, hypnotic grooves? Then you will love Moon Duo's beautiful third album proper. Now on glorious green vinyl.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Sleepwalker
      A2. I Can See
      A3. Circles
      A4. I Been Gone
      A5. Sparks
      B1. Dance Pt. 3
      B2. Free Action
      B3. Trails
      B4. Rolling Out

      Stars Are the Light, the luminous seventh album by the American psych explorers Moon Duo, marks a progression into significantly new territory. From a preoccupation with the transcendental and occult that informed Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada’s guitar-driven psych rock, and reached its apotheosis in the acclaimed Occult Architecture diptych, Stars Are the Light sees the band synthesize the abstract and metaphysical with the embodied and terrestrial.

      Branching out from Occult Architecture Vol. 2, the album has a sonic physicality that is at once propulsive and undulating; it puts dance at the heart of an expansive nexus that connects the body to the stars. These are songs about embodied human experience — love, change, misunderstanding, internal struggle, joy, misery, alienation, discord, harmony, celebration — rendered as a kind of dance of the self, both in relation to other selves and to the eternal dance of the cosmos.

      Taking disco as its groove-oriented departure point, Stars Are the Light shimmers with elements of ’70s funk and ’90s rave. Johnson’s signature guitar sound is at its most languid and refined, while Yamada’s synths and oneiric vocals are foregrounded to create a spacious percussiveness that invites the body to move with its mesmeric rhythms. With Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum) at the mixing desk in Portugal’s Serra de Sintra, (known to the Romans as “The Mountains of the Moon”) the area’s lush landscape and powerful lunar energies exerted a strong influence on the vibe and sonic texture of the album.

      On embracing disco as an inspiration, Yamada says, “It’s something we hadn’t referenced in our music before, but its core concepts really align with what we were circling around as we made the album. Disco is dance music, first and foremost, and we were digging our way into the idea of this endless dance of bodies in nature. We were also very inspired by the space and community of a disco – a space of free self-expression through dance, fashion, and mode of being; where everyone was welcome, diversity was celebrated, and identity could be fluid; where the life force that animates each of us differently could flower.”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Andy says: Formed in 2009 by Wooden Shjips' main man Ripley Johnson and his wife Sanae Yamada, Moon Duo had been chugging along quite nicely until 2017's two records in a month opus (‘Occult Architecture’ Volumes 1 and 2) signalled a slight detour, but here we are a further two years hence at a veritable fork in the road. Moon Duo now groove! Not rockin' grooves like Hawkwind of old (very cool still, obviously), but proper, disco and funk inspired, pitter-pattering grooves like Peaking Lights. Helped in no small part by Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom, a lot of the sounds here do actually recall the late 90s UK post rave scene in their blissed out, bubbling buoyancy and hippie, repetitive, lose yourself in nature vibes. This record glides! Synths are further to the fore but Ripley's ever evolving infinite ether guitar flickers and dances around them to maximum effect. Apart from one throbbing song which is a throwback to their previous records (“Eye 2 Eye”) this albums glows with a kind of contained euphoria, languid and laid back, looping and luscious. The beats here are never obtrusive, it still sounds exactly like them, but them that's swapped pot for ecstasy, a couch for a field! There has been the sneaking suspicion, of late, that Ripley Johnson was squirelling his better songs away to this, his so-called band on the side, and now, finally, with ‘Stars Are The Light’, the proof is in the pudding; he does! It's a majestic record.

      TRACK LISTING

      Flying
      Stars Are The Light
      Fall (In Your Love)
      The World And The Sun
      Lost Heads
      Eternal Shore
      Eye 2 Eye
      Fever Night

      Moon Duo

      Occult Architecture Vol.2

      Meaning all things magick and supernatural, the root of the word occult is that which is hidden, concealed, beyond the limits of our minds. If this is occult, then the Occult Architecture of Moon Duo’s fourth album - a psychedelic opus in two separate volumes released in 2017 is an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.

      Offering a cosmic glimpse into the hidden patterning embedded in everything, Occult Architecture reflects the harmonious duality of these light and dark energies through the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang.

      Following the Yin (feminine, darkness, night, earth) represented on Occult Architecture Vol. 1, Vol. 2 presents the Yang. Yang means “the bright side of the hill” and is associated with the male, sun, light and the spirit of heaven, and as such Vol. 2 explores the light and airy elements of Moon Duo’s complex psyche.

      “In production we referred to Vol. 1 as the fuzz dungeon, and Vol. 2 as the crystal palace,” guitarist Ripley Johnson explains. “The darkness of Vol. 1 gave birth to the light of Vol. 2. We had to have both elements in order to complete the cycle. We’re releasing them separately to allow them their own space, and to ensure clarity of vision. To that end we also mixed Vol. 2 separately, in the height of Portland summer, focusing on its sonic qualities of lightness, air, and sun. Listeners can ultimately use the two volumes individually or together, depending on circumstance or the desired effect.”

      Vol. 2 was mixed in Portland by the band’s longtime collaborator Jonas Verwijnen

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: If you haven't heard of Moon Duo already, where have you been? This is the second (and equally excellent) album they have put out in 3 months! Driven psychedelic haze, hypnotic distortion and ethereal vocals, pushed together into a perfect combination of melody and drive. How do they keep doing it?

      TRACK LISTING

      1. New Dawn (6:07)
      2. Mirror’s Edge (7:02)
      3. Sevens (6:48)
      4. Lost In Light (8:39)
      5. The Crystal World (10:10)

      San Francisco’s Moon Duo was formed in 2009 by Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips). Inspired initially by the legendary John Coltrane and Rashied Ali, Moon Duo counts such variant groups as Silver Apples, Royal Trux, Moolah, Suicide, and Cluster as touchstones. Utilizing primarily guitar, keyboards, percussion, and vocals, the pair plays space against form to create a primordial and disorienting sonic stew. They released two acclaimed records in 2009: the "Love On The Sea" 12-inch single on Sick Thirst and the "Killing Time" EP on Sacred Bones.

      "Escape", their debut long-player on Woodsist, marks the fullest realization yet of the young group’s evolving sound. 'Moon Duo are the combined forces of Wooden Shjips’ Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada, and following a couple of singles this year, they’re releasing a debut full-length on Woodsist in 2010. "Stumbling 22nd St.", a gauzy, lo-fi rock number built on a repetitive riff, goes on for nearly seven minutes and presents a pretty epic introduction to this band'.  - Pitchfork.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Motorcycle, I Love You
      2. In The Trees
      3. Stumbling 22nd St.
      4. Escape


      Latest Pre-Sales

      103 NEW ITEMS

      Good times 😎 Thanks so much for playing guys. https://t.co/KL1FeNcZ4F https://t.co/JQZ084CF8e
      Mon 6th - 6:25
      🔵BLUE MONDAY 🔵 The Descendants - ‘9th & Walnut’ Barry says: '9th & Walnut' offers the essential missing link in t… https://t.co/Yoz2nOgLsA
      Mon 6th - 6:04
      Who’s in town tonight for @_JoseGonzalez_ ? He’s playing @Alberthallmcr (Mon Dec 6) - we have some copies of his ‘I… https://t.co/SXt89xPY8x
      Mon 6th - 5:12
      Aren’t they a talented bunch?! Amazing work 🙌 It’s here until the new year, come down and have a play.… https://t.co/S0oWrsZYOL
      Mon 6th - 5:03
      Massive thank you to everyone who came down yesterday for #VinylAdventuresMCR we had fun for sure. FYI the… https://t.co/7R5w76OTse
      Mon 6th - 1:54
      E-newsletter —
      Sign up
      Back to top