EP REVIEW | Lunar Twin - Night Tides (Moon Sounds Records)

ARTIST: Lunar Twin

RELEASE: Night Tides

RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2107

RECORD COMPANY: Moon Sounds Records

The word Hawaii… What does it bring to your mind? A few palm trees? Margaritas? Some tropical birds? Some surfing? Gigantic waves? The wallowing baritone mysticism of Lunar Twin? Blue ocean? Blue sky? The heat? The electronic representation of a film that’s as beautiful as it is dark? What about the surf rock? With the eye catching tag of ‘Hawaii’ on their Bandcamp genre tags list, the LA/Hawaiian based band Lunar Twin’ latest mini album/EP Night Tides was a confusing piece of art from the start. I thought, judging by the glisteningly and pretty cover, the track names and the geographical elements of the band, that the music was to be ‘dancehall’ or a kind of a chillwave outing… But it wasn’t. It turned out to be much more interesting, so interesting, actually, that it garners the esteem of a 5/5 rating. It’s a bamboozling listen; electronica gets thrown in a whirl pool of dark synthwave, lounge music, down tempo hip-hop like instrumentation, dream pop and a dash of experimental rock/art rock music just for good taste. Imagine a baritone cowboy balladeer teams up with a man who knows his way round a keyboard/FX station, they both get really drunk in Southeast Asia and start making lounge music, and then get booked to play a poolside party at some movie stars place in Beverly Hills in the middle of the 80’s… Wild.

Night Tides opens with the beautiful tropical, downtempo, electronic vibes of ‘Waves’, which is built around a vibraphone lead percussion section that sits at the back of a contemplative and ‘downtown’ style synth progression. A guitar melds itself into the mix occasionally; forging lighter musical imagery to the context of the synth and piano. The standout, however, is the vocals. Where any old dream pop maverick or uninventive electronic producer would have guaranteed a higher, shimmering voice to sit alongside the instrumentation, Lunar Twin instead throw in the rumble and grit of a deep baritone-lead vocal performance. Thus, instead of two contrasting sounds bouncing off each other in the ‘light’ of the vocals and the guitar and the ‘dark’ of the rest of the instrumentation, the duo instead throw in so many different contrasting sounds that you’re left trying to figure out if you’re on a river boat cruise or lost in the backstreets of Poland in the cold. Its brilliant. ‘Blood Moon’ could very well be the soundtrack to a film noir movie. A nifty drum beat rolls the music along in a similar fashion to the strumming guitar that keeps everything together; built into the foreground of the song, however, is a bonkers genius kind of flamenco guitar picking, the sounds of a subtle string section, and a sequenced synth noise that bounces around in an echo-like fashion. Here the vocals are much more hushed and wicked; locking in magnificently with the lyrics of the song and projecting a much less tropical, more lounge music inspired sound.

‘Coral Sea’ turns things almost completely in a synthwave fashion, it opens with pulsated beat sequencing, the ease of a synth choir, a fantastic drum beat and the deep pipes of the vocals. Again, it’s a kind of film soundtrack, this time to some sort of drive into a city in the dark. The chorus’s beautiful orchestral/synth backing is truly delightful and eventually, as the song goes on, one can tell how the song relates to its title. The second half especially, has the aforementioned flavour of what some would call a ‘dark paradise’ where the sky is far from blue, but the scenery still plays a key role in the mood and feel of the place. ‘Birds of Paradise’ turns fully synth orientated, built around the dancing plucks of synths and further sequencing; showcasing the technical wizardry going on behind the scenes on the release. ‘Prayers of Smoke’ is a similar sound to the synth-laced ‘Birds of Paradise’, although the chorus returns to the duos visual projection of a tropical island or beach. A slow drum beat and wavering guitar tones highlight a swish of spaghetti-western guitar playing that overlaps more sequenced synth ques. The song at times, in a good way, sounds like its quivering and spinning into art-style noise pop, but always regains its focus and rhythm in enough time and effort to saviour itself from complete experimentation. Of all the one-track captures of a kind of mystic-tropical beauty on the release, the title track succeeds wholly in its obtuse, morphing beauty the most. I’m going to try and describe it (and that probably still won’t do it complete justice.) A synth and vocal performance open the song, which tells of a train trip and mentions oceanic imagery in a highly poetic form, then, another synth floats by, coupled with what I can only assume is a sample of some kind of Asian harp or guitar instrument. Throw into the mix an uncanny wave kind of vocal sample that sounds like its in an echo chamber. And while your floating on the dazingly metaphorical ocean of sound and allure thinking just how amazingly nostalgic the whole thing is, you notice that the synth chord progression that glues the song together isn’t actually that sweet and golden; it’s actually kind of dark. Then you think ‘f#ck, those wind chime noises aren’t actually that aesthetically pleasing either’ and then you look around yourself and admit that Lunar Twin have somehow made you re-think your imaginary surroundings. Within the context; the mental imagery of the song, you put the puzzle pieces together and feel very confused, almost in wonderment of the kind of sound they have morphed and thrown together. The moral of the story is, is that the whole thing is ridiculously experimental. So experimental in fact, that you just have to sit back and commend the fact that the band show their skills and pure smarts, their kind of own inventiveness or genius on the song.

Night Tides is, in retrospect, a musical interpretation of its title. Between the sunny visions of the tropical ocean and the islands around the place is the scent of experimental waves and a genius, kind of obtuse serenity. It’s a truly beautiful EP, and to summarise all these words and descriptions, I would have to say its major triumph is its originality and creativeness. Said originality and creativeness is achieved through the tight, kind of stripped back production and the great mixing on the release; that really highlights a lot of different sounds on a lot of different tracks. With that said, the actual song writing on the release is at the crux of this praise. Between the wild genre mixing, which includes synth-wave, easy listening, lounge music, dream pop, electronic, oriental music and art rock among others, to the fantastically simple meld between the vocals and the instruments, the duo show their skills in a subtle way from song to song. Sometimes, bands say things like ‘this is a soundtrack to a dissimulated movie’ or something, in an attempt to give a ‘nudge-nudge’ to try and get you to imagine them in a film soundtrack context. In the case of Lunar Twin, you instead make your own connection; and even if that isn’t the connections or thoughts that I had, it is easy to be rewarded from the imagery and thoughts that this music creates. With that all said, it might not be everybody’s cup of tea; the artistic and technical experimentation for the most part is skilfully subtle, but at other times you might need a second listen to focus on every sound on the release. This element is one that I thought was brilliant, but some may believe it is too non-linear. Similarly, appreciate the music for what it is; that’s a piece of experimental mastery, achieved through performance, writing, production and sound.

5/5

LINKS:

lunartwin.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/Lunartwin

twitter.com/lunartwinmusic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


EP REVIEW: Lunar Twin - Lunar Twin

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Artist: Lunar Twin

Release Name: Lunar Twin EP

Record Company: Unsigned

Released: 10/11/14

Music today is filled with many contradiction's. Everyone want's to start a band or a project just to create music that'll sound a lot like this genre or that genre, but with their own twist & their own unique edge, armed with the heartwarming intention of putting themselves out there to get noticed & to stand out from their peer's. More often than not they fail miserably and end up becoming a carbon copy of their influence's only to crash and burn, not only on the modern day musical highway's that swirl around the globe, but also in the eye's of their ever watching & ever knowing peer's. In my opinion this is down to a few major failing's. Firstly, a failing to understand their musical surrounding's, coupled with not knowing their limit's as a working band, and secondly, failing whilst trying desperately to stay relevant & true to a musical belief that they hold dear! They board themselves up in home studio's overthinking a concept and then walk around with a monkey on their back trying their damnedest to sound different! Now, fast forward, let's move on 6 month's to the impending implosion! This is where a slow musical death ensues or to put it bluntly, death by overthinking! Music should not be difficult. It should come from the heart and mean something at the same time. It shouldn't be about genre's, style's or trend's! And it shouldn't be forced. These things are not rocket science? Are they? 

Lunar Twin are a Los Angeles based electronic dreamwave duo specialising in twisting numerous different musical genre's into something rather special. Their knowledge and understanding of their influence's keep's them ahead of their peer's, therefore avoiding the pitfall's of this  modern day musical landscape, whilst sounding completely different to anything else out there today. What they have achieved is a very difficult thing to do & I know this myself, because it's something that we have tried to do with my own band, Analogue Wave. In some way's 'Lunar Twin' remind me a lot of Analogue Wave. You can't pigeon hole them into one particular genre. Their influence's vary, from New Wave (Joy Division & Gary Numan) to Hip Hop (Nas,Wu Tang Clan), through classic psychedelica (13th Floor Elevators) to modern downtempo stuff (Massive Attack, Portishead, Thievery Corporation, Soulsavers); and from classic and modern songwriter's like Billie Holliday, Leonard Cohen, Rodriguez and Santogold. They blend their musical and lyrical influence's together to make a modern psychedelic and cinematic sound.

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The 'Lunar Twin EP' open's up with beautiful 'Sirens'. The sound of wave's crashing on a beach, intertwined with hazy reverb drenched guitar's announce Bryce Boudreau's addictive vocal's & that 80's influenced synth line that seem's to hold the track steady to it's downtempo origin's. It's a great introduction track for anyone new to the sound of  'Lunar Twin'. It's filled with pulse's of New Wave, Dream Pop & Psychedelica with an almost Bluesy vocal line. Check it out below:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=2141485895 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=658023677]

 

'Champagne', the EP's second track, is hauntingly beautiful, reminiscent of late Pink Floyd in part's, intertwining with that ever present 80's synth sound. You can hear the Hip Hop & Gothic influences here too with subtle Dream-Pop flourishes swirling around another stunning vocal. I really like the use of addictive sample's running just under the vocal track. They keep your attention focused on the track and they also accompany the ocean references in the lyric's, which really hit home with the way the track ebb's & flow's. Check it out:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=2141485895 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=3928818155]

 

'Metroplex' bring's the bands's 80's influences to the fore with sequenced drum's, synth line's & pulsing vocal's! The Gary Numan'esque synth style mixed with Kraftwerk's drive compliment Byrce Boudreau's vocal's with ease. They flow gracefully over the entire track. You can hear the production techniques clearly. You can also really understand the inner working's of 'Lunar Twin' when listening to it. The band seem's to be at home with this particular genre of music. It's not forced or contrived in any way. It's great track & one that I'd say any remixer worth his/her salt would love to get their hands on. Check it out below:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=2141485895 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=1076016436]

 

The closing track on the 'Lunar Twin EP' is probably my favourite. 'Cruel water' creeps along like a stalking animal. It's a modern day masterpiece with it's effected guitar's, Hip Hop styled drumbeat (keeping the pace just nice), addictive sample's & synth's swirling underneath, all cradling Bryce's 'in your face' vocal like a newborn baby! It's a little piece of creeping dirtiness on an otherwise nice EP. Don't take my word for it, check it out below:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=2141485895 size=small bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 track=1324276198]

 

'Lunar Twin' are Christopher Murphy (production/music) and Bryce Boudreau (vocals/co-production). They met in July 2011, at the Denver Underground Music Festival when Bryce joined as a guest of Chris’ previous gothic synth band Nightsweats. They formed Lunar Twin in October 2013, and derived the band’s name from a theory about earth having possibly had a twin moon. They released the stunning 4 track 'Lunar Twin EP' to the masses on the 10th November 2014. As you can tell from the band’s name, the members have an interest in space- and time theories. They draw inspiration from Einstein’s Twin Paradox and Theory of Relativity. What it means for man(kind)’s place in the universe is reflected in their lyrics. Other sources for their lyrical themes are nature (the ocean, wilderness, landscapes) and culture (both ancient and modern, e.g. mega cities).

What is remarkable is that the two band members record the music and vocal separately, on locations far apart (Hawaii and Salt Lake City). 'Lunar Twin' are currently working on new material for an upcoming LP.

 

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For more information and updates, check their social media:

Website: www.lunartwin.com
Facebook: facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008279861005
Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/lunar-twin
Twitter: twitter.com/lunartwinmusic
Instagram: instagram.com/chriscontroller
Bandcamp: lunartwin.bandcamp.com

 

Del Chaney - The Primal Music Blog - February 2015 - Dublin, Ireland 

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'The Primal Radio Show' is an internet based radio show broadcasting on RAUG every Friday night from 10PM BST on mixlr.com/raug playing Unsigned & Small Independent Label Based Shoegaze, Dreampop, Noise Rock, Post-Rock & Post-Punk.

'The Primal Music Blog' is where Del Chaney reviews unsigned bands & posts playlists from his show – The Primal Radio Show.
Follow us on twitter for in show tweet's @RAUG001 or @PrimalRadioLive
Also on Facebook at: Facebook.com/PrimalRadio
Listen back to previous radio show's as Cloud Cast's up on: MixCloud.Com/PrimalRadio

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THE PRIMAL MUSIC BLOG PODCAST: '15 Tracks That You Really Must Hear' - December 2014

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As I'm on the Christmas holiday break from the live show over on RadioAktiv//Underground and due to the amazing interest that I received from the last 15 track Mixcloud based podcast back in November, I decided to put together another one showcasing some of the amazing music that I've found over the past few months from different artists who have either been in touch with the show or that I've found myself by trawling through the tinter web. These artists come from all over the globe and I believe that they deserve support from not only me but also from anybody with an interest in what I do here on 'The Primal Radio Show'. So below is the podcast & playlist. I've picked 15 tracks that I think you should hear! I've also listed links to every bands track up on band camp so as you can all go and support them! Plus, I've uploaded them to the Primal Radio Show Mixcloud page so as you can listen to them on the go!! Just like Mix Tapes of old. Theres no innate warbling's from me on this episode, just bloody great music. Enjoy!!! - Del Chaney.

Listen To The '15 Tracks That You Really Must Hear Podcast' Here:

[mixcloud http://www.mixcloud.com/PrimalRadio/the-primal-radio-show-15-tracks-tracks-that-you-really-must-hear-podcast-december-2014/ width=660 height=208 hide_cover=1 hide_tracklist=1]

 

Links To The Music From Every One Of The Bands Featured Here:

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=954363485 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 track=2119464389]

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=4172282399 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 track=3839589814]

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[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=403295310 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 track=2339054643]

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=1512273316 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 track=21596773]

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=3417638039 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 track=900142707]

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[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=3635500474 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 track=3998921162]

 

Del Chaney's - The Primal Radio Show - 15 Tracks That You Really Must Hear Playlist 

1) Novanta - Reasons

2) Follow The Sea - Sibirien

3) In Every Dream A Nightmare Waits - Transition

4) Lunar Twin - Cruel Water

5) Chasing Traits - Lost Cause

6) Clustersun - Meteors

7) Jeanseburg - She Never Believed In Gravity

8) UMMAGMA - Kiev

9) The Virgance - Propulsion Lab Part 1

10) Kigo - Never Knowing

11) Medicine Boy - Gimme Ya Love

12) We Came From The North - We Grew Old Too Soon

13) Winter - The View

14) The Lost Jackets - Caitlin

15) In Violet - We're All Dying, Says Sylvia!

 

Del Chaney - The Primal Radio Show - Dublin, Ireland - January 2015

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