The Norwegian experimental quartet Moon Relay describes itself as unit that have one foot in the past and one in the future, sounding old and new at the same time. Its so-called past foot celebrates the motoric-electric-funk of the late seventies and early eighties, bridging the hypnotic rhythmic patterns of German Can with the tight twin guitar punch of post-punk groups like Talking Heads. Moon Relay’s second foot kicks and pushes these infectious rhythmic textures into thorny, often ironic soundscapes full of sonic inventions and imaginary samples, reflecting its seminal influences but spicing all with playful games of tension building and release.
«IMI», the third album of this Oslo-based quartet – guitarists-multi-instrumentalists Håvard Volden, known from his collaborations with Jenny Hval, and Daniel Meyer Grønvold, bass player Ola Høyer, member of Cortex, and drummer Christian Næss – brings Moon Relay sonic recipe to perfection and offering a strong, irresistible sound of its own. You can be drawn to the sheer physicality of the fat and intense, disco-informed pulses and how these eighties rhythmic patterns blend organically into contemporary, cerebral techno repetitive grind. But at the same time you can enjoy the carefully nuanced interplay of Moon Relay and the constant games with ideas taken from free jazz, noise and psychedelia, incorporated into the tight, funky recipe.
Surprisingly, this recipe works even better when Moon Relay slows down its powerful grind and plays with choral-space vocal samples on the brief «““”””””» and immediately afterwards explores more emotional territories on the majestic «___§». On the latter piece the inspired guitar work Grønvold and Volden sketches an intimate and suggestive dialog through the leisured rhythmic grind. This dialog patiently matures into a thorny and nervous one and even brings to mind the heroic twin guitar work of another great post-punk group from late seventies, Television.
Daniel Meyer Grønvold (g, b, perc, p, synth, cassettes, dr, perc), Håvard Volden (g, b, synth, tapes, dr), Ola Høyer (b), Christian Næss (dr)