Moraine — Groundswell
(Moonjune MJR066, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-10-01Far from just another Moraine album, this Seattle based five-piece is evolving by leaps and bounds with each new release, and Groundswell offers ample evidence of this growth. The band today includes founder and guitarist Dennis Rea (also covering electronics and Mellotron), James DeJoie on baritone sax and flute, electric violinist Alicia DeJoie, eight-string stick bassist Kevin Millard, and new since the band’s last release – drummer Tom Zgonc. The compositions, with the exception of two pieces by persons outside the band, are written individually by Rea and James and Alicia DeJoie, excellent composers all three. The material covers a lot of ground, from the thrashy and bluesy rocker “Gnashville,” to the impressive chamber-like mood piece “Spiritual Gatecrasher” that slowly evolves into some inspired but measured improvisation over its seven minute duration. Most of what’s here tends to exist somewhere between the worlds of jazz-rock fusion (with some strong hints of early Mahavishnu, probably more because of the powerful use of electric violin leads than anything else) and a complex crimsoid geometric rock approach, though the unusual instrumentation used to reach these ends offers a textural originality rarely heard, exemplified on the Rea-penned second track “Skein,” and the busy and brilliantly complex “Synecdoche.” Throughout one can hear eastern Asian threads blended within the melodic fabric, more on tracks like “Fountain of Euthanasia” and “In That Distant Place” but to a lesser extent on several other numbers. Opener “Mustardseed” starts off slow paced but quickly moves into a world of noisy free rock improv while maintaining its melodic drive. Measure by measure, this is an outstanding group of players and composers that impress at every level.
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more