Moon Duo – Stars Are the Light


Eight songs about “embodied human experience — love, change, misunderstanding, internal struggle, joy, misery, alienation, discord, harmony, celebration — rendered as a kind of dance of the self, both in relation to other selves and to the eternal dance of the cosmos,” album number seven from inner-outer-space psych-trance-onauts Moon Duo is outta this world. With the dynamic duo putting elements of 70s funk and 90s rave at the heart of their abstract and metaphysical musings, Stars Are The Light takes us further beyond the mystic mental soundscapes explored in their previous diptych, the two-volume Occult Architecture. There’s something softer, warmer, mellower at the heart of this record that makes it an album to be embraced, one to allow oneself to dissolve into.

Lifting off into the cosmos with ‘Flying’, the journey sets off at a pleasantly relaxed pace, the guitars unhurried, the softly sung vocals spacious, the synth lines gently drawn, and the rhythms subtle and mesmerizing. The title track bibbles and bobbles and bubbles in all the pretty colours and the beautiful warmth of the track, particularly the joyous vocal harmonies, is nothing less than enchanting. From the soft light of ‘Fall (In Your Love)’ through the soft push of ‘The World And The Sun’ into the soft drive of ‘Lost Heads’ until we alight upon the resonant redolence of ‘Eternal Shore’. Track by track, the journey deepens and expands, the horizons of this seamlessly-conjoined inner/outer world broadening to reveal an all-encompassing magnitude that transcends the physical. And while ‘Eye 2 Eye’ raises the tempo and the intensity somewhat, it is the perfect segue into the pensive pulse of album closer ‘Fever Night’.

On embracing disco as an inspiration, Yamada says, “Disco is dance music, first and foremost, and we were digging our way into the idea of this endless dance of bodies in nature. We were also very inspired by the space and community of a disco – a space of free self-expression through dance, fashion, and mode of being; where everyone was welcome, diversity was celebrated, and identity could be fluid; where the life force that animates each of us differently could flower.” Capacious and boundless, fluid yet distinct in character, inviting and embracing, glorious and triumphant, hypnotising in its repetition and uplifting and moving in its motion, Stars Are The Light is all it wants to be and all that the listener can both bring to and draw from it. If this is to be considered the next stage in Moon Duo’s sonic and spiritual evolution, the rest of us have some catching up to do. Fortunately for us, Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada are pointing us in the right direction. Close your eyes and give Stars Are The Light a whirl. It’s full of stars….

Words by Jason Guest

Track list:

  1. Flying
  2. Stars Are The Light
  3. Fall (In Your Love)
  4. The World And The Sun
  5. Lost Heads
  6. Eternal Shore
  7. Eye 2 Eye
  8. Fever Night