Moon Pool & Dead Band

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Humanizer Review

by Paul Simpson

Detroit-based duo Moon Pool & Dead Band is easily the most danceable project in the Wolf Eyes universe, and that means more than you'd think. Nate Young's collaboration with Dave Shettler (Koufax, the Sights, SSM, Viands) finds common ground between the experimental noise underground and the techno scene established in the duo's city of residence. Moon Pool began during the early 2010s and progressed through a handful of limited releases and countless rehearsals and live jams, all utilizing analog synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines. The 2012 Cramps-sampling Human Fly (on Not Not Fun) and 2015's double 12" MEQ were easily the duo's most dancefloor-focused releases yet, with the latter boasting remixes by Detroit scene regulars such as Brendan Gillen (Ectomorph) and J.T.C. (Tadd Mullinix). It was the inaugural release on Midwich Productions, a Chicago-based label founded by Magas, previously known for co-founding the legendary Michigan noise rock label Bulb Records during the '90s. Humanizer, the second Moon Pool LP, also appears on Midwich, and it's far more experimental and diverse, and less disco-fied, than the previous two Moon Pool outings. "New British Blues" opens the album with ten minutes of storming breakbeats and astral synth melodies that gradually become heavier and more corroded. "Cycloid" is more uptempo and chipper, but there's a sort of nagging, scratching sensation to it. "Sea Dust" abandons a logical sense of rhythm, with flanged, mutated drums sporadically crashing and smearing. Amidst the nine minutes of turntable scratching, melting vocals, queasy synths, and bumping beats that make up "A Gray Glow," Young and Shettler manage to hide a bit of an upward-looking melody. "Hospital Quiet" expands upon that feeling, with sunny, blooming synths and primitive drum machines, all reminiscent of mid-'70s Kraftwerk or Cluster. As with all Midwich releases, Humanizer bears stunning sleeve art by science fiction/fantasy illustrator Mark Salwowski.

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