Since first catching Moon Duo at the since sadly departed Beacons Festival a few years back, the pairing of Wooden Shjips‘ guitarist Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada on keyboards has travelled far. They are still out there in search of space, looking for the final frontier of sound. And they still have those familiar coordinates of Morton Subotnick, Spacemen 3, Silver Apples, Neu! and various other so-called Krautrock bands of that era keyed into their sonic sat nav. But somehow they are now bigger and better.
They are bigger, having increased their number by 50% since Beacons with the addition of drummer John Jeffrey. The Canadian’s impeccable metronomic timing adds ballast and a further human dimension to Moon Duo’s nuclear sound. And they are undoubtedly better, the release of two albums plus an extensive tour in 2017 further stretching their powers of creativity and cohesion.
With their music built upon the fundamental concept of repetition, and in front of a packed Community Room in the Brudenell, Moon Duo blast off immediately into the outer stratosphere of sound. On a cosmic journey that uses last year’s Occult Architecture, Vol. 1, and its companion record Vol. 2, as strategic staging posts the band quickly settle into a hypnotic, blissed-out groove. The dynamic texture of guitar and synths possesses its very own primal energy, a power that is afforded even greater potency by the brilliance of the accompanying light show.
Sane Yamada once said the idea behind Moon Duo from the outset was “to be like Suicide with guitar”. And it is perhaps with that notion still in mind that their first encore is Alan Vega’s ‘Jukebox Babe’. It may well be the beginning of February but here Moon Duo invest the former Suicide frontman’s 1981 rockabilly single with some warm Californian sunshine. They follow this with an equally irresistible interpretation of The Stooges ‘No Fun’, both songs having just been released on a limited edition covers-only 12” single.
“Don’t you wonder sometime, ‘bout sound and vision”, David Bowie had pondered almost 40 years ago to the day on ‘Sound and Vision’. Were he still around today to bear witness to the Moon Duo live experience he may well have got the answer to his question.
Photo credit: Simon Godley
Some more photos from this show can be found HERE