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Moolah - Woe Ye Demons Possessed  CD (album) cover





3.34 | 13 ratings

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3 stars As an American student of Krautrock from a precocious young age, it's a little embarrassing now to be introduced to this experimental New York State band, forty years late and by a friend in Denmark. In my defense, their one studio album was a rarity even when new in 1974. And their hermetic style of instrumental psychedelia remains an acquired taste, even today.

Filing the group under the Krautrock sub-label seems like a necessary compromise for such undefinable music, but it makes sense: the Moolah duo was exploring similar terrain, half a world away. What the album lacks is the same historical / cultural urgency that made Krautrock so essential in its own country and specific era: post-war Germany in the turbulent late 1960s. This album, in contrast, seems to have been created in a vacuum: all part of its enigmatic charm.

But what about the music itself? Here I defer to the accidental poetry of DamoXt7942's April 2012 review, which in its faulty syntax and imperfect grammar actually captures the elusive essence of Moolah better than a native English speaker ever could (his is currently the only rating here, written or otherwise). Evocative phrases like "cheap electronic earache" and "another dimensional nausea" are like fractal carrots dangled in front of a hungry Krauthead: it's hard to resist music described so vividly.

Even better is the band's own sales talk, on the back cover of the original vinyl: "A Cosmic Rock Relaxation elevate sensory awareness to include the Aura of intuitive perception of higher realms of Human / Divine consciousness using the Astral Body Projection Experience Vehicle to pierce time / space / logic dimension barriers on the return voyage to The Ultimate Concept, - THE ORIGIN."

Clearly either a sly satirical statement was being made, or else a lot of serious drugs were available in Greenwich Village at the time.

Background information on the band is scarce, but I'm assuming the two-man team, identified in the LP sleeve notes only as Maurice the Archer and Walter the Lion (presumably in reference to their astrological signs) play keyboards and drums, respectively. The primary instrument is a cheap acoustic piano, cascading through the album opener "Crystal Waters" and filtered through an array of effects, with a ghostly shimmer of lo-fi electronics floating just overhead (imagine Harold Budd, adrift in deep space). The drumming meanwhile hardly resembles any traditional time-keeping, at one point recalling a heavy freight train rolling slowly over its switches. In the song "Mirror's" the rhythm section was appropriately reversed, adding yet another dimension of weirdness.

The whole eerie, otherworldly "paranormal concertwork" (again, in the band's own words) flows together like a single-six-part suite. But the back-to-back movements "Terror is Real" and "Courage" deserve special mention, if only for their complimentary titles, summing up the entire human condition in twelve trippy minutes.

The album will always be too obscure to earn more than three enthusiastic stars. But there's plenty here to discover for connoisseurs of musical esoterica.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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