As you have been poking your face about sub-cultures over the last few years, you may have noticed the resurgence of Moon and tidal/cyclic worship. Possibly you have even suspected the eye of Horus firmly upon. The gravitation towards particular words for art projects suggests communication and pet-naming of art could be an indicator to the collective stream of thought – at least among creatives. Motion, strength and agility as well as connective spirit were on the conscious when Horse and various animal names were being used. Putting ‘No’ before everything was a tongue in cheek acceptance of uncertainty welcomed by a concerted distancing of certainty and the comfort zone of control. The same could be said for the word ‘Holy’. Legitimizing the self as a secular power? When I saw the band name ‘Moon Duo’ I wasn’t surprised. Such a name is most definitely relevant to our times. Be present and stamp pop culture with spiritual reference that is traceable to future observers of history, please. Make us real.
‘Circles’ is the second album from San Francisco Moon Duo, Erik “Ripley” Johnson (vocals, guitar) and Sanae Yamada (bck-vocals, keyboards). Wherever this psych-rock album takes your mind philosophically, you are going to want to dig deeper into breaking that shit down. Go with it. This album just has that affect and by all cerebral construction, it’s meant to. It goes pretty frontal lobe on you. The first and last tracks have basically the same riff indicating the circle of life (as far as I’m concerned).
“Inspiration 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”, says label Sacred Bones. Emerson was a “champion” of individualism and particularly Man’s relationship with nature. If you think, “oh that’s nothing” – think again about the time this man was in his heyday. 1830s western values were fairly dictated by industry and the bible. So, what I’m trying to say is he was all about poking holes in society’s reliance on the institution, be it cultural or religious… Sound familiar? The essay ‘Circles’ is basically a question on the array of circles found throughout nature and when it was published was not too far off the time this German math guy Karl Weierstrass “presented the first definition of a function with a graph that would today be considered fractal” (Wiki). Now, even though fractals were conceived some 200 years earlier, critical mass is critical mass.
However rooted in the mid 19th century the philosophies of the album stand, the sound is distinctly 60s and a whole lotta rockabilly thrown in. Think Sailor, Lula, Crybaby and Rock Lobster singing “Red light and tears no more for you my love I fear” at a Blue Hotel in Four Rooms. Don’t you get it yet? Moon Duo’s ‘Circles’ is absolutely fantastic and hands down one of the best pop-rock albums I thrash this year. I’m telling you to buy it.