Jul 15, 2023

Moon Hooch, by...well, Moon Hooch. Stunning.

Moon Hooch is saxophonists Wenzl McGowen and Mike Wilbur and drummer James Muschler. Yup: two saxophonists and a drummer. And they're brilliant.

What makes them brilliant? Well, like the equally brilliant Ak & Zuie, they somehow make themselves sound like an entire orchestra. While Ak & Zuie use polymetric funk to make their bass, drums, and vocals sound gigantic, Moon Hooch uses dubstep jazz, something called "cave music." It's an offshoot of house music. Somehow, the two saxes and the drums recreate the polished energy and swank of house music while remaining raw and vibrant. It's truly inexplicable.

Every track on Moon Hooch is great, an amazing accomplishment these days. My favorites are "Number 9" and "Number 5." Listening to each track, you hear instruments that aren't there. The countermelodies and rhythms create the impression of a full band. Yes, there are other instruments in a few spots, but most of what you hear is sax and drums.

Moon Hooch and Ak & Zuie are the aural equivalent of the unimaginably wonderful show Fool Moon, starring clowns David Shiner and Bill Irwin. The entire show was without dialog, the only sounds being accompaniment by the Red Clay Ramblers, a folk-bluegrass band. At one point, Shiner invited two members of the audience onstage to "film" a movie. He silently gave them directions, and after the show, Tim and Mom and I had trouble describing what we'd seen. We'd start out "Remember when he said--" or "Remember when he told them to--"

But Shiner didn't say anything. It was all completely silent. Yet we heard his directions as clearly as if he'd spoken them.

When an artist can make you hear things that weren't said or instruments that weren't played, the art is on a different level.

Cows don't know what to make of Moon Hooch, but bovines aren't famous for their taste.

Well, okay. Cows are famous for their taste, but not their taste.

Anyway, buy Moon Hooch. You won't be sorry.