StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A few sips of Moon Hooch


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This week, let's sample some videos from Moon Hooch, who are returning to St. Louis to perform on Friday, October 13 at the Old Rock House.

The NYC-based trio- drummer James Muschler and saxophonists Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen- met while attending The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC, and got their start in 2010 busking in subway stations.

With some help from some fortuitously timed national media attention, including one of the most-viewed episodes ever of NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts, they've developed into a busy touring act and have released five recordings in all, the most recent of which is the CD + DVD set Live at the Cathedral, which came out in June of this year.

While the members of Moon Hooch trained as jazz musicians, their sound as a band is something else, drawing heavily on electronic dance music and also influenced by hip-hop, metal, and even a bit of Indian classical music.

McGowen has called it “acoustic techno," and evoking the feel of electronic music on acoustic instruments requires the two saxophonists to use various extended techniques- some of their own invention, like inserting a plastic traffic cone into a sax- while also demanding considerable amounts of precision and stamina from all three musicians.

You can get an idea of what this sounds like and see how they pull it off in today's videos, starting with the first clip up top, which was made in November 2016 in the studios of radio station KJHK in Lawrence, KS, and features them playing “Number 1," “Number 7" and “baritone 3."

After the jump, you can see and hear three more tracks (with somewhat less generic-seeming titles), all recorded in February of this year at the studios of Paste magazine in NYC. They are, in order, “Red Sky," “Light It Up" and “Contrabass Dubstep."

The final two videos, “Acid Mountain" and “Growing Up," were recorded in August 2017 in the studios of radio station KBOO In Portland, OR.

For more about Moon Hooch, check out the interview with them published in July by The Guardian newspaper, and this feature from August in EZH magazine.

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