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Moonwagon - Night Dust CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.85 | 42 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Moonwagon's debut album offers visions to the cosmic progressive rock realms observed from Central Finland's starlit winter nights. The first riffs after the ignition made me anticipate quite dark heavy space noodlings, but the vintage analogue synthesizers and other stylistic details from larger palette broadened this perspective. The steady scans of "Hoodoo Horizon" skim to convincing instrumental landscapes through rhythmic alterations and neat solos. I was first little worried about the end of the first track if this would be another sonic volcano eruption in vein of "21st Centrury Schizoid Man", but interestingly the band continues from there dynamically with riff reprisals and finds a controlled endings. Quite surprising and interesting solution, and these voyages do not venture only in cold space, but also to more organic and alive islands of inhabited worlds floating in the void. Some piano themes, percussions and relaxed guitar tones on "Highway to The Orange Desert" give even associations of sensualist touches familiar to me from Carlos Santana and Positive Wave. "Oceans Away" dives in really calm lunar sea, melodies and firm continuum bringing memories from Camel's heyday records. The echoed guitar chords resemble slightly Rush, the song also containing similar neurotic rhythm arrangements from the 1970's albums from that band. "Super Altar" is one of my own favorites on this record, combining Hawkwind-styled acoustic guitar drive and soothing keyboard melodies, synthesizing as lovely hippie cosmic anthem. "Starmask" continues with slightly more oppressing tones, containing strong feeling of movement and travel, leading to culmination of heavier pulses in "Thunderdrift". With this track I think some innovations from the 70's hard rock group have been studied and implemented to the group's sound. The longest final track "Sundown Mountain" revels in abstract sound ambiences and slow rhythms for glorifying the grandiose visions beautifully. The song evolves to more riff-oriented theme for mountainside chanting and synthesizer soloing, the returning to more ethereal beginning theme.

What delighted me in their overall sound was the diversity of musical styles circling around the standards of tonal textures association with space rock, general progressive rock philosophies and flavored with classic heavy rock leanings. The way of expanding the conventional darker psych elements with tones from broader progressive rock sound has created more personal record, slightly similar way than Hypnos 69 has achieved. I admit though, that in my opinion these two bands are not very close relatives with their sound, but certainly share the approach in broad stylistic fusion in psychedelic frame of reference. For me most memorable sounds here were the calmer pretty guitar weeps and powerful vintage keyboard presence. The sounds are in my opinion recorded here quite well, if such quality can be evaluated with my half-deaf ears. I tested it loud on car, and with five speakers system enhanced with additional boost of Bassman 10 amp at home junkyard. Certainly the spheres of cosmos were conjured very pleasantly, all instruments in my opinion at good balance and audible, mutual levels finding full balance in intensity. So, sincerely recommended progressive psych rock record from the land of desolate woodlands and empty grey cities.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 4/5 |


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