Moon Duo

Killing Time Expanded Edition Review

Moon Duo Killing Time Expanded Edition was released in celebration of the tenth anniversary of ‘Sacred Bones Records’. The instruments undulate against each other creating a dizzying, psychedelic wash of sound. It starts with a beat machine, heavily delayed guitars, and industrial-synth keyboards inspired by Suicide. The songs keep a steady tone throughout, sinking the listener into dark pools of echoing mud and psychedelic guitar.

‘Speed’ takes a dark turn with a electro-punk sound making images of a wasteland where something sinister is unfolding. ‘Dead West’ and ‘Ripples’ have an open clear sound with plenty of tremolo. Ripley Johnson’s vocals softly echo with a drum machine at his heels. These song is blissful, relaxing, meditative, the cleaner tones are a breath of fresh air from the powerful waves of modulation and echo found on the first two tracks. These first four songs make up the original 2009 EP ‘Killing Time’. The songs have been remastered for a clearer sound and better mix then the original versions.

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Moon Duo began in 2008 as a two piece band with Ripley Johnson on guitar and Sanae on keyboards and a beat machine on percussion. This was during the Bush Jr. era of economic collapse and the start of the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ripley Johnson started releasing music in 2009 with Wooden Shjips ‘Back To Land’ was released in 2013.  He and Sanea started the Moon Duo in a hotel room with the idea of creating a duo like Martian Rev. and Alan Vega but with guitar. The economy was in the tank, concert attendance was down and being in a two person band meant the money was split between the two lovers. Using a beat machine allowed them to tour the USA in a compact car and to compose music in hotel rooms along the way. Their early sound was a combination of early industrial-synth-rock and psychedelic guitar.

Moon Duos sound has evolved significantly over the years but the basic form stays the same on each successive release. Since 2009 they put out the full length LPs ‘Mazes’, ‘Circles’ ‘Shadow of the Sun’ and in 2017 ‘Occult Architecture Vol. 1’ and ‘Occult Architecture Vol. 2’. Their sound has evolved from echoing muddy electro-punk to polished space-rock with some of the industries best psychedelic guitar and keyboard arrangements.

Moon Duo

The second half of ‘Killing time’ is comprised of early recordings that hardcore fans may have never heard. ‘Bopper’s Hat’ is a rare gem from a 7” split with the Bitchin’ Bajas. It was an official Records Store Day release with a pressing of only 750 copies through ‘Permanent Records’ in 2010. It is organ driven with a space space-rock quality. ‘Run Around’ was originally issued on the compilation ‘Menagerie #2’ on ‘Blackest Rainbow’. It was released in the UK with a one time pressing of 500 copies. ‘Dead West Part II’ is ultra rare, it was released on ‘Raven Sings The Blues Vol. 2’.

Killing Time (Expanded Edition)’ is a treat for Moon Duo fans and consolidates their rarest early recordings onto one LP. This band has become quintessential in the American psychedelic and space-rock genre. Although these early recordings are far from their best it provides valuable information about the formative years of their career. The music itself is dark, brooding and can be disorienting staying true to the sound of synth-punk pioneers Suicide. This is an album for Moon Duo enthusiasts who are looking to complete their collection or who are interested in hearing the beginnings of this incredible band.

Moon Duo Killing Time (Expanded Edition)

  1. Killing Time
  2. Speed
  3. Dead West
  4. Ripples
  5. Boppers Hat
  6. Run Around
  7. Dead West Part. II

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Article by: Temple Rose

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