Red Sky (Hornblow Recordings)

Moon Hooch

Released June 10, 2016

The Guardian 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2016




On ‘Red Sky,’ their third and most adventurous album to date, the band uses everything they’ve learned from their whirlwind journey to push their sound to new heights, bringing together the raw, transcendent energy of their live performances and the sleek sophistication of their studio work into a singular, intoxicating brew that blends elements of virtuosic jazz, groovy funk, and pulse-pounding electronic dance music.
Recorded at The Bunker studio in Brooklyn, ‘Red Sky’ is nothing if not captivating. The album opens with the tribal urgency of the title track and proceeds, over the next 45 minutes, to utterly demolish any and every possible barrier that could stand between your ass and the dance floor. On ‘Shot,’ Wilbur sings a stream of consciousness vocal line over an airtight groove, while “Psychotubes” channels the apocalyptic fire and brimstone of death metal, and the staccato intro of “That’s What They Say” gives way to a gritty, late-night come-on of a saxophone line that’s far more suggestive than any whispered words ever could be.

Track Listing:

1. Red Sky 03:26

2. That’s What They Say 03:52

3. Sunken Ship 04:03

4. Low 5 04:02

5. Psychotubes 03:01

6. On the Sun 04:06

7. Booty House 02:54

8. Shot 03:58

9. Something Else 03:55

10. Rough Sex 04:14

11. The Thought 03:04

12. Alien Invasion 03:19

13. Broken Tooth 03:51


Wenzl McGowen: clarinet (contrabass), baritone and tenor sax
James Muschler: drum set, tabla
Mike Wilbur: bass, soprano and tenor sax, vocals

Recorded at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY

Produced by Moon Hooch

Illustrations: Ari M. Warner


Former buskers Moon Hooch, dischargers of massive noise and infectious techno-fuelled dance grooves from just two saxes and a drumkit, showed how fast they are building a young international fanbase on their eagerly greeted recent UK tour. The pounding opening title track catches their volatile essence in three-and-a-half minutes (the whole album only runs to 46); That’s What They Say bleats out its catchy hook and churning ostinato over a snorting baritone-sax pulse from Wenzl McGowen; and the the splicing of a fast circular-breathed sax loop into the hooting vamp of the churning Booty House highlights the pace-changing skill that come from their jazz roots. Rough Sex chomps and whirls over a house-bass grunt and drummer James Muschler’s squashy snare pulse, while the anthemic The Thought has a glowing vocal-chorus horn sound. Tenor saxist Mike Wilbur’s slow, ghostly vocal and the rising horn wails of the sleepwalking, Radiohead-like On the Sun show how resourcefully Moon Hooch avoid being just headbangers. Jazz purists might tire of all the pumping and jumping after a bit, but the hooks are good and the all-round raucousness is infectious.

John Fordham (The Guardian)