Moon Relay

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Moon Relay (2014), 6/10
Full Stop Etc (2016), 6/10
IMI (2018), 7.5/10
_...-``-..._ (2020)

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Norwegian quartet Moon Relay (guitarists Daniel Meyer Grønvold and Havard Volden bassist Ola Høyer and drummer Martin Larsen) debuted with the instrumental mini-album Moon Relay (2013), containing the industrial This Heat-esque dance Fight Shy, the noisy psychobilly A Fit Shore and the ten-minute cosmic Dracula Dub, three elegant takes on three completely different genres.

Moon Relay (2014), whose song titles are sequences of special ASCII characters, is another eclectic collection of instrumental compositions, mostly pulsating and dissonant. Guitars are still driving the music although Grønvold and Havard also play keyboards. The harsh dissonant industrial dance """"S and the shrill and noisy no-wave guitar solo -->--> (something that Arto Lindsay could have done in the 1970s) display a passion for extreme sounds, but there is also order and geometry to their music. In fact, the repetition in the eight-minute ,,,,,,v,,,,,, is even too self-indulgent, the same way that the savage, distorted frenzy of `´`´`´`´`´/ is indulgent in the other direction. Best are the garage-rock jams ////////L and ::……-_-_//#1 (especially its second part), which find a better balance between order and chaos by invoking and reworking old ideas from Sonic Youth and Neu.

More of these strange alien creatures (7//_) and robotic dances (...,,\y) surfaced on Full Stop Etc (2016), but its highlight is the ten-minute psychedelic locomotive ..../__ (;;;''___'',,,), despite its lame ending.

Further increasing the role of the electronic keyboards, and featuring a new explosive rhythm section (bassist Ola Høyer and drummer Christian Naess), IMI (Hubro, 2018) wed their original tribal psychedelic sound with syncopated funk and jazz, aiming for a sort of furistic dancefloor. And so #`´`´`´/ sounds like Gang Of Four on steroids, and the drumming dominates the machine funk-jazz of –#/#^. (^)II bridges visceral hard-rock riffs and chaotic free-jazz. ___$ transitions from liquid dreamy jazz to booming free-jazz jamming. The closer F–<:::: is, instead, another of their savage, primal, Neu-inspired unrelenting locomotives. While shifting the focus towards a deviant kind of dance music instead of a brainy variation on vintage, prog-rock and post-rock this album marked a quantum leap forward for Moon Relay.

The double-LP _...-``-..._ (2020), originally a collaboration with visual artists Anthony Barratt and Espen Friberg, is generally far less exciting (the eight-minute I is an imitation of Glenn Branca's old minimalist symphonies, the nine-minute II is an imitation of cosmic music of the early 1970s, and III is the only interesting take on the funk-jazz orgies of the previous album), but the nine-minute IX still concocts enough fusion of propulsive and discordant elements, and the nine-minute closer, X, is one of their most abstract and dissonant soundpaintings, with an undanceable dance-beat buried in guitar noise.

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )