Mazes (Bonus Track Version)
San Francisco guitarist Erik "Ripley" Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada tracked and mixed their sophomore album under the Moon Duo moniker in Berlin. From the first song, “Seer,” the distance between Germany and northern California is evident. This offers sounds less anchored to Johnson’s main acid-rock band Wooden Shjips than Mood Duo’s 2010 debut album, Escape. Fans of Spacemen 3, Silver Apples, and Suicide will find instant familiarity, as the opening tune pulses with guitar drones and oscillating analog synth modulations. Further German influences seep into the krautrock-tinged “Scars,” with its synthetic soundscapes and primitive drum machines. Just when it seems as though Yamada’s keyboard plays the prominent role in Mazes, along comes the nearly danceable “Fallout,” where Johnson’s guitar distortion takes over. The bonus track “Flowers” slows down the tempo to create otherworldly soundscapes on par with Sun Araw.