The following article was written for ARTROCKER MAGAZINE , issue #125, November 2012


MOON DUO were formed back in 2009 by Wooden Shjips founder Ripley Johnson and his partner, Sanae Yamada,

“…basically just because I wanted to play music more,” explains Ripley. “The guys in the other band have different things to do what with family and work commitments, so now we just schedule some time together to write, record and rehearse before a tour.”

Originally based in San Francisco, Ripley and Sanae have recently relocated to Portland, Oregon having spent the past couple of years in Blue Creek, Colorado. It was here that Moon Duo’s new (second) album was conceived and initially recorded.

“I don’t consciously say I’m going to write about ‘this’ or ‘that’ – it’s just really about whatever’s going on in my life. At the time I was writing the songs (for ‘Circles’) I was up at our home in the mountains of Colorado by myself as Sanae had gone off to a meditation retreat. Y’know, I wouldn’t say it’s spooky but when you’re alone in the mountains there’s something about the solitude and going for walks in the woods. I was thinking about nature and reading the 1841 essay entitled ‘Circles’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson that explores the recurring patterns in nature and the circular aspects of it. At the same time I was meditating, trying to do it in solidarity with Sanae.”

“And it all fitted perfectly in to where my mind was: the patterns in life and vibrations in Nature and how things come and pass away – it was all very similar to something I’d been interested in with music …. repetition, and looping and things like that, so it kind of became my theme, really.”

“Musically, I wouldn’t say our sound has changed all that drastically (from the first album ‘Mazes,’) but for me, it’s a reflection of where we are in our lives. Technically, we spent a bit more time on it, and sonically I think it’s a bit more ‘hi-fi’ and richer for all that.

Moon Duo’s music is termed ‘repeat-o-rock’ on their Facebook page:

“I think it took me a long time to realise what I responded to in music and why I write the things I do,” says Ripley. “But that led me to other things of interest and some of that was the German (krautrock) stuff; and things like minimal ‘classical’ music I guess you’d call it, like Terry Riley. And then free-jazz stuff …. along with my original loves like Velvet Underground, Neil Young, The Stooges etc..”

“The realisation eventually came that I don’t like a lot of drum-fills. I don’t like ‘complicated’ stuff – I don’t like ‘Progressive’ music; for me, the simpler the better!”

Some may consider Moon Duo’s music ‘simple;’ many simply think it ‘brilliant.’

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