Exposé Online banner

Moon Men — 2: Uncomfortable Space Probe
(Bandcamp No #, 2018, DL)

Moon Men — 3
(Bandcamp No #, 2019, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-09-25

2: Uncomfortable Space Probe Cover art3 Cover art

Moon Men is an unconventional musical collective, though it’s a stretch to call them a band, maybe a recording project would be a more accurate term. Uncomfortable Space Probe is their second recording from December 2018, and 3 is the latest as of this writing, from mid-2019, not even available on their Bandcamp page yet as of this writing. The members on both albums are the same: guitarist Bret Hart, who also is credited with Casio SK5, field recordings, looping and electronics, and who seems to be the central point from which all compositions emanate, although every member has a hand in the creative process as it unfolds; Jerry King plays basses (both acoustic and electric) plus trombone and guitar; drums are animated by Bill Jungwirth; and last but certainly not least is Dave Newhouse (Muffins, Manna Mirage, and numerous other projects) on woodwinds, keyboards, and whatever — his sax sound is unmistakable on these two albums. There are no vocals as such; these are (with the exception of some “sounds”) completely instrumental. After many listens, here’s how I believe it goes down: the ideas start with Hart, guitar parts, click tracks, other basic ideas for each of the pieces (thirteen on the second album, eight on the third), then go out to each of the other members in sequence who in turn add their ideas to the mix, then on to the next. The result is a stunning improvisational stew, no two tracks sound even remotely the same. I have to presume that everything comes back to Hart for a final mix-down. As a process, this is not unlike Don Falcone’s Spirits Burning project, although with Moon Men, it’s the same smaller, tight-knit group of players mixing it up in the creative process. Now I suspect someone from the group will contact me and tell me I have it all wrong, but this is what it sounds like. Highlights of Uncomfortable… include “Magic Dread” with its punchy bass groove that shifts gears right in the middle of the tune, then comes back with Newhouse’s sax driving hard for the remainder, and “The Mechanical Dog,” built on an odd rhythm pattern with convulsing sax, guitar, and bass parts, and some bad-ass harmonica in the closing minutes. Highlights of 3 include the seven-plus minute closer “Ennio Bopped Me” taking its cue from the Morricone spaghetti western sound, and “The Dark Side of the Moon Is Dark for a Reason,” where flute and electric piano seem to be tempering a wellspring of potential chaos just below the surface. Both of these releases are masterful exercises in the creative process. In short, brilliant.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Dave Newhouse (Manna / Mirage), Jerry King / Cloud over Jupiter, Moon Men, Bret Hart

More info
http://bhhstuff.bandcamp.com/album/moon-men-ii-uncomfortable-space-probe-digital

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Procosmian Fannyfiddlers - Requiem Fatigue – Sweet voices and guitars start off the Procosmian Fannyfiddlers eighth CD, Requiem Fatigue. The band calls their style burlesque progressive rock, and that's pretty accurate. The tales told here are...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues