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Moon Duo - Mixonline

Moon Duo

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Keyboardist Sanae Yamada and Guitarist Ripley Johnson areMoon Duo, electronic music collaboratorswhose latestcollections,Occult Architecture Vol.IandVol.II,aremeant totracea musicalpaththrough the seasons. Byturns,brighteror darkertextures arelayeredoveracentral groove,expressing the ideaofanatural landscape, and the changing “architectural” facadescreatedbytemporalshifts.

The musicians recorded foundationalelements withengineer Jason Powersat Type Foundry Studios(Portland,Ore.), withtheirtouring drummer John Jeffrey playingelectronicandacousticdrumparts.“They knewthestructurestheywanted,butwithmea lotofitwasgettingthe groovedown,” Powerssays.“Therearepartsthat switchontopofthat, buteachsongisessentiallyone repetitivegrooveandbeat.

“Somesongsweredonewiththemasaband,or Johnwould play toa click fora while,andthen wewouldfindaniceeight-bar segment and makea loopofthedrums,”hecontinues. “Someofthesongshadelectronicdrumsandothershadalivekit,buthehadtriggersonhiskit,so hecouldtriggersamplesaswell.”

Powersunderstoodthatmost,ifnotall,oftheguitartracksfromhis sessionswouldbe replaced,aswellasanyguidevocals,butsome key- boards (takendirect)wouldbe kept,andthedrumpartsweremeant to be keepers. “Originally,Iwasthinking Iwoulddoamonooverhead,so Ihada Coles4038ribbonoverthekit,butafteradayorsoIaddedan old NeumannCMV563—atubemicfromthe’50s—overthedrummer’s shoulder,” Powerssays.

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ClosemicsincludedanSM7onsnare. “I removethepopguardonthe SM7anditgoesintoanAPI512preamp,”hesays.“TheSM7gives youa solidsnaresoundandhasgoodhi-hat rejection;hi-hat bleedingintothe snaremicisacommonailment.”

MoonDuoputintwosix-daysessionsat Type Foundrybeforetaking theirbasicrhythmshometoaddguitars,more keyboardsandfinalvocals. Bothvolumesweremixedby longtimecollaborator Jonas Verwijnen: Vol. 1inBerlin, and Vol.2in Portlandat Josh Powell’sstudio,TheMap Room. “Iwouldsaythat whenthey left my studio,theywerestill formingthe songsinaway,” Powerssays. “Ididn’tevenknowatfirstthattherewere goingtobetwo records.Theywerefiguringouthowitwasgoingtogo, andultimately theysettledontheideathat there wouldbeone record withadarkergroove,andtheotheronewouldbealittlelighter.”