Moon: Tales of Long Dead Ladies

Don't be deterred by the cryptic Tales of Long Dead Ladies title, and don't think Moon's album is a merciless blast of punishing noise either. Instead, it's a thirty-four-minute collection is moodscaping of a particularly strong vintage. The group's the brainchild of DDN who, on this recording, is ably assisted by singer Chandra Murray (words for three songs derive from poems by Emily Dickinson, Letitia E Landon, and Jennifer Jacobs—the first two filling the “long dead ladies” bill while the third is “still alive and dreaming”); born in 2000, Moon lists eight albums (on CDR and net labels) in its discography. DDN regards Moon as his adult tribute to the soundtracks of his childhood nightmares, one he characterizes as “Mahavishnu Orchestra remixed by Merzbow,” and his attempt at re-imagining what “the music of the future would sound like back in 1976,” when DDN was seven. In a distinctive move, bass guitar often assumes the lead instrumental role with Murray's vocals and rippling sheets of electronic and synthetic waves swelling alongside it (guitars, organ, and theremin also figure into Moon's music-making).

The seductive opener “My Life in Ruins,” a celestial cloud where bass guitar meditations drift through windswept atmospherics of electronics, synths, and the breathy sweep of Murray 's angelic voice, pulls the listener in immediately. In the folk traditional-styled meditation, “Shall I Ever Fall,” Murray 's intonation of Dickinson 's words (“Good-bye to the life I used to live / and the world I used to know”) echoes through a mass of guitar stratospherics until they eventually drown within it. Roasted guitars burn through the funereal “Dreams Dreaming” and nightmarish “Dream Monsters” (Sleep little gargoyle / Dreaming of worlds / Sleep ‘til the stars all make sense”) while phantom whispers murmur and electronic noises seethe. There's a somnambulant quality to Moon's music, as if the tracks are audio transcriptions made when DDN's asleep. The music drifts hazily in and out of focus, with voices and electronics ebbing and flowing throughout. Though Moon's sound is disorienting and mildly turbulent too, Tales of Long Dead Ladies nevertheless impresses for the subtle and nuanced handling of its material.

November 2008