Moop, Ostara (Tonzonen Records 2021)

Dark jazz trio Moop reorganize for a second album that is heavy on the avant-garde and filled with twists and miasms.

Moop is from France and the band for the new album is Erwin Toul (drums), William Brandy (saxophone), and Julien Coupet (guitar). The first album came out in 2017 and kept to a more linear trajectory than Ostara. The free form nature of the new set might be thought of as representing the coming Spring, or maybe something more mutated or forlorn. The experience is in the ears of the listener.

When creating music with three principal instruments – sax, guitar, and drums – the apparent starting point is a jazz mentality. The feeling and themes however come across to me as very dark. I guess that could just be the way I am receiving it. Still, there is an acoustic doom resonance hereabouts, a persistent feeling of dread and calamity that never goes away.

There are four songs on the album, with two long ones on side one and a long and a short track on the flip side. The music never goes for the big heavy, and the saxophone is the most prominent voice throughout. Confusion and forlornity are the guiding lights. There are extended passages of what many would surely call avant-garde, and the chaos is often disorienting.

This album is very different from the music I usually listen to, and I mean that as broadly as possible. Rare is the day indeed that intentionality would bring this to my turntable. Somehow it hit me just right when I listened to it in the dead of winter in New England. If I had been naming this album, I would probably have gone with “Mabon” instead of the more optimistic “Ostara,” but whatever it might be called, it will set you off on a perpendicular path. Recommended.

Ostara becomes fully available on Friday, February 26th. Pre-orderers get one track in advance and the rest on the drop day. Bandcamp is the place to go for the cassette, CD, vinyl, or digital instantiations.





Moop, Ostara (Tonzonen Records 2021)