"We started playing 'No Fun' after BBC6 Radio asked us to record an Iggy song for his 70th birthday. We added it to our set to work it out for the session and kept playing it every night because everyone loves that song. We worked up a version of 'Jukebox Babe' because our sound engineer Larry got it stuck in his head and was singing it all the time. We figured, we may as well play it if we’re going to hear it all the time.
The Stooges and Iggy, and Suicide/Alan Vega/Martin Rev, are all huge influences on us. But we never want to do faithful covers of great songs, because what's the point. So we tried to push both of the tracks in less obvious directions, incorporating other influences, like California psych and cosmic disco, giving them more of a summer vibe. We knew Sonic Boom was working outside of Lisbon, so we asked him to produce the tracks, recording them in August for maximal summer heat."
-Moon Duo, October 2017
Moon Duo is the solo alter-ego of Wooden Shjips guitarist and singer Ripley Johnson. Under the Moon Duo moniker Johnson creates expansive Krautrock influenced tapestries of warm cascading fuzz and controlled feedback, organ, and accenting keyboard. This four song 12-inch is the second release and incorporates a much more concise, composed and driving sound than before. Johnson expands on ideas only hinted at on the Sick Thirst 12-inch (which is already long gone) adding a driving drum machine beat behind the thick walls of layered sound. Don’t sleep on this one.Information on bonus tracks:"Bopper’s Hat" originally released on a split-7" with Bitchin Bajas on Permanent Records. "Run Around" originally released on Menagerie #2 on Blackest Rainbow Records. "Dead West Pt. II" originally released on Raven Sings the Blues Vol. 2.
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."
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.
In Chinese, Yin means "the shady side of the hill" and is associated with the feminine, darkness, night, earth. Following this logic, Vol. 1 embraces and embodies Moon Duo’s darker qualities - released appropriately on February 3, in the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
Shadow of the Sun is the result of a few months of Moon Duo wrangling with a new and unsettling way of being. Working both in a dark basement in Portland, and above ground in sunny San Francisco, these new sounds and songs veered dramatically from groove to groove, revealing sonic textures the duo had not previously explored. The song "Night Beat", with it's woozy dance rhythm, is an attempt at finding joy and acceptance on this new, shifting ground, while "Wilding" plays off the familiar Moon Duo sound, taking refuge in a repetitive, grounding riff-scape. Elsewhere the band gives itself entirely up to the trip, cruising along on the fuzzed rhythms of "Slow Down Low" and "Free the Skull", crashing into the clenched-teeth herky-jerk of Zero, and floating down, down, down, on the narcotic mist of "In a Cloud".
Moon Duo's Live in Ravenna was recorded in the summer of 2013 and is available as a limited, one-time vinyl pressing. "Ravenna was memorable for a number of reasons, the most prominent being the really very intense heat, and the setting - Hanabi has an outdoor stage on the beach, the Adriatic Sea only meters away," the band's Sanae Yamada explains. "The show that night, and the recording of it, sort of encapsulates everything that was happening at the time - the heat wave, the journey, and the shift in the energy and composition of the band."
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After releasing Mazes, one of Sacred Bones’ best selling albums of 2011, and the accompanying limited edition lP of remixes, Mazes Remixed, Moon Duo are set to release Circles with Sacred Bones this fall. The band will also set off on a worldwide tour in support of the album, after living and playing in Europe for most of this year.
Moon Duo’s new material was birthed from a long period of winter isola- tion in the Rocky Mountains. The album was primarily recorded at home in Blue River, Colorado in February 2012, with additional recording taking place at Lucky Cat Recordings in San Francisco in April. Like it’s predecessor, the album was mixed at Kaiku Studios in Berlin. Inspira- tion for many of the songs’ themes, as well as the album title, came from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1841 essay “Circles” 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.
To commemorate the impending new Moon Duo LP due in October we are previewing a new track which was recorded at their home studio in Colorado as an outtake during the Circles sessions and then mixed in Berlin. “Zoned” is hard charging burner which clearly indicates how much this band ups the ante with every new release. “Take Me With You” finds Psychic Ills locked into a deep repetitive choogle put through the same fried VU meter displayed on their recent Hazed Dream LP, yet clearly moving toward a more straight ahead approach to song writing. The upfront vocals make this easily one of their most catchy songs to date and the right soundtrack for your travels; whether by subway, highway or other means.
Remix guests include: Cave, Purling Hiss, current Sacred Bones roster artist Gary War, future Sacred Bones’ recording artists Psychic Ills, and two tracks by Sonic Boom (aka Pete of Spaceman 3).
We are thrilled to present the newest long-player from psych prodigies Moon Duo. For just over two years now Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips) and Sanae Yamada have been burning up the scene with their propulsive beats and compelling acid washed shows. Formed in San Francisco, the duo recently relocated to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This record, however, was cut in Berlin. Certainly the most pop-oriented batch of songs the band has ever delivered, Mazes, reveals a more accessible vocal delivery and song structure that is sure to appeal to a wide audience not necessarily well-versed in the psych underground. The concepts of minimalism, expansion through repetition and sensory distortion are all still here and the dynamic interplay between Ripley’s guitar and Sanae’s keyboard continue to push this band and genre into uncharted territory. An unexpected and deadly follow-up to their critically acclaimed EP, Killing Time and prior release for Woodsist. The Duo will be doing a full US tour beginning mid-March.