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Moonface “Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums”

“Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums”

Rating: 8.5

There is only one song on Moonface’s EP “Dreamland” and it is called “marimba and shit-drums”.  It’s straight to the point because, in fact, the song is comprised of just that: a marimba and shit-drums.  Of course, you also hear Spencer Krug’s voice, but otherwise it is simply a marimba and shit-drums; nothing more, nothing less. With the added fact that the song runs for 20 minutes, you might think this is a throw-away album, a joke, an example of self-indulgence. And you may be right. Maybe.

Afterall, Spencer Krug has spread his talents pretty thin in the past few years, working in his multitude of projects: Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake, and Fifths of Seven (not to mention the work his done with Frog Eyes).  How could this album be any good when you think about it? A 20 minute song consisting of a marimba and shit-drums, performed by a guy who’s involved in half a dozen other projects? Why did he even release this to the public?

I’ll tell you why: because it fucking rules.  The constant pulse of the marimba gives the album an imminence, a feeling that the echo of the wooden bars being struck by a mallet is building towards something, racing toward a culmination.  Then, of course, the shit-drums kick in and it’s on.  The crackling of the harsh rhythm plays as the perfect antithesis to the happy-go-lucky marimba.  I don’t know if anyone has ever used the marimba in this fashion. Usually you hear the instrument in tropical fare, but Spencer has taken the joyful sounds of the African instrument and somehow given it tension, made it angrier, made it sound more, dare I say, hardcore.

The lyrics are just as peculiar and captivating. The words are filled with a plethora of imagery. The theme of the album is, once again, quite blatantly about a “dreamland”. Krug talks of chameleons, towers, and mountains, all told through an ocean motif. The Moonface website that coincides with this album (http://moonface.ca/) features an interactive look at Krug’s dream journal where much of the storyline arises from, and it even offers a “dream forum” for fans to go share their dreams (is there anything more uninteresting than hearing other people’s dreams?)

Through a minimalist lens, Spencer Krug shows us that he doesn’t need a full-piece band to produce amazing music.  With only two simple instruments he can create music that is just as dramatic and heartfelt as anything by Explosions in the Sky.  Creating explosions with only two instruments?  In essence, Krug is the MacGyver of the music world.

MacGyver's "dreamland" consists of paper clips and chewing gum.

(If you didn’t notice, the entire song is in stream form at the top. If you’d like to purchase the album, he’s selling it for donations or you can buy the LP which comes with a free download)

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