There’s a certain bravery in being opportunistic, deciding that your artistic vision is humble enough to be translated on the materials you already own, and that you’re frustrated enough with the broken promises of your pipe to let those dreams manifest. Naturally, some visions require the necessary hardware, and no one is asking anybody to extract a monumental compositional masterpiece from a Casio keyboard (but how interesting would that be??); the essence of lo-fi might just be it allows emotion to escape the body faster than one’s ability to plan ahead for “proper” capture. And, therefore, what the audience receives is a hasty product as the artist struggles to keep their hands on intent Is it through this urgency the artist is able to speak uninhibited and uninterrupted by technology? It’s possible to give too much credit to someone who just doesn’t want to learn Pro Tools, but wouldn’t that be a little unfair?
The latest release from moonish brute, valley and the void, fails to achieve the urgency I suggest, but it does capture fleeting moments. And, although it’s not a listening experience of intense emotional clarity, it is of the emotional. Each song unfolds like summer clouds dancing over the river: moonish brute is there to sing their momentary familiarity into existence as they shape-shift into animals and minutia. With child-like playfulness they craft the sky with layers of vocals, acoustic guitars, and pastoral electronics. Opening with “Dead Whale”, the synths create a feeling of rocking gently in a boat while the lightly sung lyrics hear lullaby-like, contemplative and beautiful. “Unbeheld” offers another image, this time of spinning on the playground roundabout just as your hands begin to fail holding onto the thin metal bars. “Flora”, (to my delight) has a toy piano, and features voices more prominently in the mix, but indecipherable lyrics mask any images of the author’s own suggestion. The final track, “Valley and the Void” feels like walking home from the park at twilight watching the sky gradually alter itself. In this record are the shapes we feel. Like cloud-watching, the songs are malleable and projectable within our own scope of experiences. What I’m impressed with is how moonish brute can use such rudimentary equipment and still find a two-way channel between their hands and their audiences’ hands. Both sides giving and receiving.
valley and the void by moonish brute is streaming below via bandcamp.