Moon Duo – “Mazes”

With Mazes out on March 29th on Sacred Bones/28th on Souterrain Transmissions in Europe, Colorado-by-way-of-SF band Moon Duo are touring the US starting later this month. The Duo’s minimalist, churning rock and roll has already resulted in two great records, and the decidedly pop turn on the new album’s title track suggests an unexpected and exciting new direction. According to Souterrain Transmissions, that new direction also meant using outside recording studios for the first time, including sessions in SF and Berlin:

[Moon Duo’s Sanae Yamada said:] “We wanted to do something in a more ‘rock ‘n’ roll band’ style, something a bit fuller than our previous recordings.” In terms of recording this meant that Moon Duo “used more tracks on this record, in order to get a denser, layered sound to make this our ‘rock band’ record. I grew up a huge Stones fan, so I’ve always liked that dense sound, with multiple guitar tracks, percussion, piano, organ – anything you can squeeze into the mix.”

This meant a vastly different recording process to Moon Duo’s first two EPs, which were recorded fast and at home. Mazes was a more drawn-out process, involving proper recording studios for the first time including the trip to Berlin to mix and re-record certain parts and the track ‘Run Around’. “The working title was Die Blumen [the flowers], so going into the mix sessions we kind of felt like it was becoming our ‘Berlin record’, but in the end it retained the stamp of San Francisco and we liked Mazes title better anyway.” And ultimately, Mazes is a definably American record, recorded against the backdrop of the Johnson and Yamada’s move from the Californian coast to the heights of Colorado. “I think a lot of our music has something to do with the mythology of the road,” muses Moon Duo’s Sanae Yamada. And if Mazes is a quest, a journey through American landscape and music, Johnson concludes that its key is “finding one’s place in the world; moving forward, and the different paths one takes moving through life, trying to reach various goals, literally moving; love; pain; change. Or just getting by, and making sense of things”.

Moon Duo will be at Bottom of the Hill on Monday, April 11th (9pm, $10), with Royal Baths and Lilac.