A circle of towering trees surrounds you. A fire in the center of the clearing illuminates the darkness of the night. The flames rise from a pile of glistening brass instruments, slowly melting in the heat. A cold wind dances across your face and feeds the fire. The fiery pillar explodes, rising into the sky with an unearthly tone that shakes the earth. The molten instruments ascend out of the fire and into the air. They are played by an unseen force . . .
The saxophone is undoubtably one of the most versatile instruments in existence. Equally capable of virtuosic solos, foundational melodies, and otherworldly textures, it’s one of those rare tools that can be contorted in any which way to complement the given context. However, there are far too few circumstances in which it’s granted the leading role. Red Sky is the newest full-length from the Brooklyn trio known as Moon Hooch.
These thirteen songs are crafted by a deceptively simple recipe: a couple of dueling saxophonists in Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen, with percussion held down by James Muschler. The three classically trained musicians blast through compositions ranging from rollicking funk rock to subdued psychedelia. The chemistry between Wilbur and McGowen is exuberant and intoxicating, often resulting in sweat-drenched euphoria.
Having met at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and spent vast amounts of time refining their creative formula by busking in New York City Subway stations, these guys know exactly how to play to each other’s strengths. Red Sky is a record stuffed to the brim with ebullient melodies, fresh ideas, and exhilarating energy. If you’re seeking exuberant, saxophone-centered rock, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)