By Dallas Williams
Artist: Moon Hooch
Album: Red Sky
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Moon Hooch is a chasm of sounds that can best be described as carefully architected dissonance. The trio is hard to pigeon-hole and even harder to describe. For the sake of trying; the band’s third album, Red Sky is explosive, mystical, jazz-influenced grooves.
The album is nothing short of an experience. Red Sky clocks in at only 45 minutes long and is the best way you can spend the better part of an hour. Exactly why it’s an experience is simple; it’s danceable. What I previously thought could never be made danceable is now a living, breathing work of art.
Should jazzy cacophony be danceable? Can it be this danceable? How have these three managed to make jazzy cacophony danceable? With songs like “Low 5” and “Booty House” you’re forced to tap your foot at the very least.
“Low 5” starts with a simple infectious tenor saxophone phrase and from there the jazz riffs fly above the fast paced and heavy baritone saxophone. “Low 5” showcases the trio’s jazz background the best while still defying the laws of genre.
“Booty House”…well nothing more really needs to be said than lace up your shoes and get moving. Another favorite song is “Alien Invasion” which brings up conspiracy theories and eerie feelings. There’s a lot less shadowboxing between the saxophones, and the tenor is featured front and center; almost reminiscent of an alien songbird (if such a thing exists).
The band consists of Michael Wilbur, Wenzl Mcgowen and James Muschler, who met in New York City at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Their technical precision can be attributed to their formal training, but what makes them scrappy comes from their hunger for an audience. To my knowledge, the best way to gain an audience in New York city is to go to the most public of stages; the street corner. Performing at subway stops on the street, Moon Hooch crafted the edginess and performance quality needed to hold an audience’s attention.
It’s easy to think that these two worlds would clash and lead to nothing more than noise but the end result is beautifully weird music. One minute, you think you’re listening to electronic and then the next you’re listening to psychedelic jazz with an unending beat. Take a trip into the different, travel a little left of center and listen to Red Sky. If Moon Hooch’s creation doesn’t change your life it will at least move your body.