Moon Relay | IMI
Oslo-based Moon Relay are an experimental rock quartet made up of Daniel Meyer Grønvold, Håvard Volden, Ola Høyer and Christian Næss. and their new release IMI is out on October 19th, so this is a bit of an early peek. And that starts with the thumping #`´`´`´/ — yes that’s right, all the titles are made up of some characters. Maybe that should have been the title? It reminds me of a dramatically re-edited theme from a 70s-80s television series at first, with a vibrant forwardness and some cosmic space sounds. These guys definitely sounds as if they are having a lot of fun, and the percussive elements are thrilling. It just keeps building like a gigantic snowball that just happens to be carrying a funky rhythm with it, especially around the five minute mark when it breaks it down some.
These guys jam like a muther******! Next up is the strange squirmy (^)II with a laser and an animated beat. The synths warble, the drums crush it, and I’m thinking a modern day The Knack in one moment and a B-52’s or Devo-like chords in another. It’s funky fantasy underbelly has a maligned humor and sinuous surf sensibility. When they open with a lilting archival recording of a chorale in reverse that atmosphere on “”””” becomes darker, still and droney. It’s a crossover to ___§ which retains the previous ghostly hues along with a rat-a-tat funk drum kit and a harp-like strum that reverberates sweetly. It’s low-swung, and changing in coloration, as if you are witnessing a reaction between chemicals. This abstract conversation between the players has sexy ragged edges that explore after dark scenarios and the watery ending is dreamy.
-#/#^ kickstarts like a old school hip-hop track, perhaps its the antiquated drum machine, or is it the unconventional clap tracks and effects? It’s a gamelike player, playing between harmony and atonality with strangely perverse Pink Floydian inflections. If you keep your ear on the central funky beats, once the guitar overlays start to buzz you may hear warehouse-like production taking place. Moon Relay is building an imperfect beast. The bassline ties the loose ends of everything being on the fritz, until a cosmic ray swoops in to lift them to another plateau. Ending with the jazzy inflections of F-<:::: I can appreciate the jangle and hum in the same way that I once swayed to the jams of Morphine in the mid 90s. There’s a certain vibe here, like a intermediate suspense theme that weaves unconsciously throughout. The cronk of the guitar on this one is not only stylish, it’s tireless and rich. These guys could be the next great jam band, but revamped for a generation that has resorted its senses to the virtual for much too long. IMI is a wake-up call that a fusion of genres can still be this much unexpected fun.