Supposedly, the apocalypse will be rung in with horns.
But they won’t be horns like this, unless the rapture is truly rapturous. The 2010s showcased Moon Hooch’s evolution from studious Jazz disciples to rave-inducing dance barons. Using a “reverse DJ” set up, they filter their saxes, vocoders and another set of mad brass weapons that would make Cannonball Adderley smile, through Ableton, playing EDM with Jazz instruments.
And that crazed euphoria has translated well in their live shows and songs. At their best, Moon Hooch create a hallucinatory, out of body experience. So, listen to our interview with them, read our blurb on their break through single “Number 9” and see why they’re the best of the 10s.
When people tell me they need something fast, catchy, and danceable for the gym or a party, I usually direct them to Moon Hooch. Now, this may be confusing at first, as Moon Hooch is a professionally-trained group of former conservatory students who spend the better part of their live shows playing tenor saxophone through orange plastic traffic cones. But we’re living in the future, my friends, and the genre-transcendent Brooklyn trio has brought cave music to celebrate. The opening track to their 2013 self-titled debut is somewhat elusively called “Number 9,” which calls to mind the Beatles but is essentially the opposite. To establish the mood and the setting, the band begins by paying homage to their subway station-busking roots and sampling the infamous New York underground robot lady voice: “Ladies and gentlemen, the next L-Train is now arriving on the Manhattan-bound track…” And then it’s off to the races.
With a mammoth-sized melodic sax hook, instantly recognizable and always smile-inducing, multi-instrumentalists Wenzl McGowen and Michael Wilbur use “Number 9” as an invitation to their exclusive nightclub. Once percussionist James Muschler’s chaotic live-drum dance beats come in, the track becomes reminiscent of something like Moby remixing TV On the Radio’s “I Was a Lover” with 300 horsepower, or LCD Soundsystem, a high school marching band, and the Hyperdub Records gang going H.A.M. on a Donna Summer 12”. Occasionally I have to remind myself that no guitar or bass was involved in the making of this music; the groove is simply overwhelming. “Number 9” is primitive and masterful, a modern classic of experimental dance music and Jazz fusion and brasshouse that infectiously encouraged a return to the use of live instruments in the club. If Moon Hooch wants to retreat to the cave to play their tunes, we’re lucky to join them.
- Hunter Moore