Writing about music isn’t always easy. At times it can be more challenging writing about a record that you really love and admire than it is to slate something or throw together a bland review of mediocre music. I found it difficult initially to write about the new album from Moth Effect – Hovering. Sometimes the scope of the music is just too large to do justice to through words. Sometimes you just have to listen to an album to experience the majesty, the joy, the feeling, the power, the quality, the size, the intricacies. Hovering is that sort of album. You should listen to it.
Moth Effect is an instrumental music project by Sussex based Andy Le Gresley. Using guitars, synths and loops, tasty basslines and stretched out notes, Moth Effect has created a work of glorious Kosmische Musik. Whilst at times some of the influences here are obvious, Hovering is ultimately a unique, standalone work. The opening title track lets you know exactly what you’re in for – a big sound, big guitars and a big feel of a Neu! record; take my money, I’m in.
Shader has a hint of Bowie’s Low played from outer space. It’s pulsating and mesmerising. What strikes me as particularly remarkable is how accessible and catchy this music is despite its complexities. Soft Darts probably owes as much to the industrial electronic scene of late 70s/early 80s Sheffield as it does to the pioneers of space music in Germany. It manages to mix big beats, spaced out touches of drone and dark tonal electronica to great effect. A little bit different to anything else on the album, it is another great example of something that on the surface has no right to be catchy actually staying with you throughout the day after you’ve listened to it. There’s a certain hookiness to a lot of these tracks that isn’t always immediately obvious but somewhere gets to work on you and lingers within your musical psyche.
Hot Chocolate II is a motorik cosmic stomp. Again, the incredible trick this track pulls off is being so accessible whilst essentially having all the hallmarks of a twisted space-age freak out. Summer 99 is classic Kosmische Musik. Here you’ve got the stretched out notes, subtle hints of drone, tonal electronics, CAN –esque guitars, a repetitive beat. This one is a journey and a magnificent journey at that.
Next comes You And Me Forever. This is slightly different again to a lot of tracks on the album whilst operating within the same sonic aesthetic. It’s cosmic funk; a massive song drenched in sound held together by a relatively straight rhythmic bassline. The haunting snippets of the conversation at the start of the song feel like an attempt to ground the album back down on planet Earth, but as the music takes hold that notion is very quickly forgotten. More Work is perhaps the darkest mood on the album. It is almost industrial in vibe and if you sped up the slightly sinister electronics that carry the music along it would be feeling its way towards a monstrous drone techno mash up. As it is the guitars that seem to swirl around throughout the track manage to hold it back in this realm, which can be considered a good or bad thing depending on your desire to experience monstrous drone techno mash ups…
When The Bloom Is Off The Rose is a great track that probably displays Moth Effect’s influences most clearly. CAN, Neu!, Tangerine Dream, Berlin era Bowie, perhaps even bands like early Cabaret Voltaire and Ultravox. You wouldn’t be surprised to read that Conny Plank had been involved in the production here somewhere along the way (well, obviously you would but you know what I mean, dear reader). The guitar on this track is gorgeous. The texture and tantric intensity is sublime. It really is a great song. The final track on the album Sweet Home accomplishes the feat of reverberating from the murky hinterland of the 1970s whilst still somehow sounding like the future. It’s a fitting end to the album.
Moth Effect’s latest album is the sixth release on Cue Dot Records, further cementing the reputation the label is developing for releasing high quality records from across the machine-made electronic musical spectrum. An openness to experimentation, to different sounds and styles and to pure artistic freedom is becoming the defining trademark of Cue Dot, along with a total commitment to quality.
Hovering is a truly brilliant record. Full of psychoactive waves, repeating rhythms and beats looping and overlapping one another, hints of rich drone, accomplished guitar, and eruptions of sonic space noise. It achieves an incredible balance between big complex soundscapes and simple melodies; something that is rare and which is a compelling feature of the album, a feature that makes it such a pleasurable listening experience.
Moth Effect – Hovering is released 14th May 2021 on Cue Dot Records.