Surprise is a great device in music particularly when sounds or strange instrumental flourishes appear with little or no warning. When a musician has a seemingly fixed palette of sound, but unexpected additions add a hallucinatory layer to the music. The effect places the sounds to an ever-transforming and adaptable stream of connected threads.
Dylan Moon’s stunning debut Only the Blues does a great job of overlaying moods, lo fi fragments, rounded electronics and odd smotherings in a series of affectingly dreamy guitar led songs. The result is a 14 track collection of miniatures drifting through weird hypnogogic phases like an aged cassette.
Hope Dog opening into a watery strummed downer full of beauty. An acoustic groove tugged at by ripples, reflections and warm electronics. The second track Death Warmed feels more fleshed out and assured but blooms into guitar mist before zoning in on piano keys. Immediately, these opening tracks have an effect that feels like the tape is somehow dragging, something pleasurably warping the heart of these bedroom scribbles. The music feels instantaneously polished, malfunctioning, touching and amazingly 3-dimensional.
The mood expands in the thumb piano led Rosy, and in the slow-motion panning groove of Chimneys. A flamenco figure twisted around A Witch before rupturing into a fuzzed-out mess. Pockets of space open up in the plodding Analog like a pleasantly zoned out ballad. Blue Jean feels like sun-stroked meditation whilst staring directly into the sun. Collapse does just that, opening up like a collection of shavings, barely connecting in the space.
Song For Jerry is a concise illustration of Moon’s approach still wrapped in comfortable haze. A sleepy rippling homage to the one and only Jerry Garcia. ‘Please Jerry guide the trip for me’ the gently flanged voice intones. The loving mantra eventually twisting into a supremely baked guitar…
Intertude throws a curve ball like a poppy disco beat distorted just enough to be coated in weird. Lines chugs along with a satisfying groove that slides around before revealing odd electronic under-wiring. Faraway Places has a whiff of the tropical in a drum machined backdrop. The guitar retraces the vocals in Morning Limbo peeking out from underneath the sonic debris. The closer Mind Troubles births into a guitar mess before forming into another distorted groove.
In a shade over 34 minutes, Only the Blues returns your speakers back to silence and it’s clear that Moon’s created a blurry diamond here. At the heart of the music, it’s possible to sense effective hook laden songs. Perfect in a way to exposing the lyrics to a far great degree but texture is clearly a hugely significant ingredient. The way these songs get buried in various syrupy coatings, elevates them into a phenomenal treat.
Only the Blues, informed by a worm holing surface quality is further enhanced by the style of videos offered in support of the release. An invitation to pause a while in some zone that simultaneously exists in digital animation, 80’s new aged cheese, introverted gloominess, lysergic textures and aural surprises.
A modern take on a song-based psychedelia, and things drip out of every pore of this gorgeous oddity. Only the Blues is a superb first taste of Moon’s art and whilst some form of the blues might have informed the initial songs, the end result is a mangled pop gem.
Only the Blues is out now on RVNGIntl. Get it here