Moon Hooch Album Review and Interview

Digital aged music listeners dialed into Pandora and 99¢ downloads often miss the essence of a band’s make up. OK, I am getting older, and I miss the days of cover to cover analysis of vinyl records—sticking with the album until every last sound has been heard in one sitting. And older still, I write an article that points towards the art of “fresh,” as opposed to rusty canned musical formulas that kick out dynamic singles with a buying public who finds no need to experience the artistry of an entire album.

Musical sermon aside, Brooklyn based band—Moon Hooch kicks out their first self titled album with an air of irreverence to the atypical musical system. Indie in spirit, but rich in musical range featuring duo tenor saxophones—Mike Wilbur (MA) and Wenzl McGowen (ESP) and the grounding rhythmic beats of James Muschler (OH) on drums.

Track #9 on the CD opens up with a nod to New York’s famed L Train spot where Moon Hooch plays live amidst the hustle and bustle of cell phoned micro-focus and the flicker of departing passenger stimulation. Track #4 celebrates the band’s fusion of house and dance while articulating an art house sound that moves your feet. Track 8, “Tubes,” takes you on a trip of intrigue and alteration as chords move you along an augmented style perfect for Mark Sandman’s lyrical style. (Sandman, 1952—1999, was the front man for the low-rock band Morphine who paired his musical genius with the baritone sax player, Dana Colley). Track “Low 4” closes the album out with a mature composition that foreshadows the band’s raw potential and future success. (Above, Mark Sandman by Mark Ostow)

And to support Moon Hooch’s recent album, I caught up with BPM extraordinaire James Muschler for a quick interview and introduction.

mM : how would you describe your musical flavor ?

James : We've been calling our music "cave" because it's like house, but more wild, more free, and more natural to live in...

mM : when you rehearse is their a freestyle or rhythmic call to action that keeps you all united ?

James : Usually what happens is one of us will go into a rehearsal with a idea for a melody, some harmonies, some rhythms, etc. and then the three of us will develop and expand on those ideas until we are satisfied with a song.

mM : how has performing in the NY subways helped tighten the band musically and as pals, professionals, etc.?

Sometimes when we go to the subway, we're down there for like 8 hours, so it's not only an exercise in endurance, it’s a creative challenge as well…playing the same repertoire for such a long period of time forces each of us to expand and try new things out and get creative…also, spending so much time with each other inevitably makes us tighter as musicians and pals.

mM : where’s your favorite piece of musical history? is it an artifact, place, feeling, note, or record?

James : artifact - The first Neanderthal bone flute ever made, the predecessor to the modern saxophone.

mM : what influences in the past history pump you guys up—

James : John Coltrane has been a consistently huge source of inspiration for all three of us over the years that we've been studying music. There are other sources of inspiration, though.. Hindustani Indian Classical Music, Contemporary Classical Music, drum and bass music, electronic house music to name a few…

mM : what track is the most fun to play live ?

James : Out of all the songs we play, we probably play "number 9" most frequently, but all the songs we play have something different. The diversity is what makes it fun...

You can visit Moon Hooch on their website, search them out on YouTube or see them live on a train platform rolling through the NY Subway. Kind thanks to James and support your local artists. Moon Hooch’s self titled is now available for listening goodness—limited edition CD plus download. Check it.

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