Moonface

This One’s For the Dancer & This One’s For the Dancer’s Bouquet

Jagjaguwar

Nov 02, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Within the first offering of Spencer Krug's towering swan song album as Moonface before he moves on with his solo composing sans alias, there is a signature stroke that nods to why he is one of the great musical outliers of this century. The fairly straightforward marimba/steel drum joint "Minotaur Forgiving Pasiphae" that begins this flamboyant endeavor gets Krug's pitched percussion embellishment during the last minute-thirty, letting you know who's behind all of this. It's a simple marimba arpeggio, ascending then descending and then swirling outward. Although there's nothing tricky about it, its timing and swagger, you feel, can only come from Krug.

Few other modern day artists have been able to so fluidly travel back and forth between the more formal rock of a main bandfor those who hadn't paid close attention, Krug is one half of Wolf Parade's singer/songwriter dynamic duo, alongside Dan Boecknerand the fearless fervor of his solo and side projects. No fences keep him contained when he's on his own. He levitates over them, streaking bare with the philosophy of "I'm gonna try this and if I fall flat on my face then so be it." This is how Krug has been able to explore his wild side, escaping sameness, and this has never been more true than on his final Moonface presentation.

If Krug's past solo releases have been a reflection of where an artist is stylistically and emotionally, then This One's For the Dancer, This One's For the Dancer's Bouquet stands as his retrospective. It's not only a bouquet but a grand feast of rich, almost heedless designs that demand a big appetite, but will leave you with that particular high one feels during an hour's long dinner of lavish food and wine with friends. The host recommends splitting it into four courses. Krug concedes that the 16 track album as a whole might be too much to tackle in one go, suggesting its consumption over each side of the double album it is being presented as. "I see each side of this four-sided album as it's own little journey, a complete listen within itself, and easily enough for one sitting." wrote Krug in a farewell to Moonface piece that accompanied the album's announcement and also details why he is leaving this alter ego behind.

There's no comparison to this album that I can think of, and that has a lot to do with the fact that it combines two entirely separate sessions recorded at two points of substantial distance in Krug's career, in time and in theme, with different collaborators on each end. One half of the record is driven by the marimba and steel drum instruments that he and collaborator Michael Bigelow share affinity for, and is sung from the fantastical, ruminant perspective of the minotaur of Greek myth, another quirky interest of Krug's. That character is inhabited more convincingly by Krug's use of vocoder for his vocals, a bold choice leading to surprisingly pleasing result, considering the mass misuse of the tool. At its base, the other half of the record features delay affected digital synth and Krug's unaffected, natural voice as he sings about more mortal, human, and personal issues. Krug carefully selected and invited drummer extraordinaire Ches Smith and saxophonist Matana Roberts as collaborators here, which propels the music with a jazzier, more grounded feel. The revelation of the album is Roberts. Her horn bellows through each song with the personality one might find in a modern jazz rendition of Peter and the Wolf. With Smith providing a steady backbone of rhythmic might, Roberts' spirited saxophone solos take over, gloriously expanding the scope of the tracks she laces.

There is some patience needed to listen to how songs develop and evolve on this one and a half hour affair, but Krug has earned at least that from us during his career of alt-universal-psychedeliato coin a term that describes his far-searching music, which normal genre labels fail. It would require another essay to examine the components of each of the tracks on display, but suffice it to say, they are all daring, weird, unexpected, and, importantly, groovy. This is quite the parting shot for the moon for Spencer Krug as Moonface, but fear not, there will be more supernatural romping from Krug to come. This beast of a double record should be more than enough to tide you over in the meantime. (www.moonface.ca)

Author rating: 8/10

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