Moon Diagrams is the solo recording project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer Moses John Archuleta. Two years after his debut album 'Lifetime of Love', Archuleta returns with 'Trappy Bats', a mini-LP that interweaves three brilliant new Moon Diagrams tracks with radiant reworks from Shigeto, Angel Deradoorian, and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma.
'Trappy Bats' was largely recorded in a single night as a means to process the intense intersection of Archuleta’s social, political, and personal hysteria. Having been arrested for an unknown, missed court date, Archuleta spent 24 hours in a holding cell, offering ample time to reflect on his life, the current state of the nation (the jail televisions were showing a constant feed of the then-active Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville), and the other inmates stuck inside the containment center. Upon being released the next day, Archuleta found himself suffering from a bout of insomnia and feeling the need to process everything through music.
Here, Archuleta is in his freest and most grateful state, channeling the turmoil and confusion he was experiencing into an unencumbered fit of creativity. It’s pure, unadulterated escapism with an even more callous palette of sounds than before, clearly split between two different moods.
On the ‘up’ side, the title track could be the sonic spawn of Not Waving and Terrence Dixon: a snarling mix of percussive clatter and washes of orchestral tones coalesce into a pulsating groove across its almost 12-minute runtime, the underlying ’80s aesthetics making it feel like a turbo-charged Shep Pettibone remix of New Order, looped to infinity. Shigeto goes even further and implodes it into a kaleidoscope of bone-jarring, viscerally giddy dance music.
Over on the ‘down’ side, “Wipeout” is a slow-motion waltz of dusty piano and clattering percussion loops that cooly stumble along with the woozy, nocturnal flare of the Caretaker or Philip Jeck. The haunted reverie ventures even deeper with a beatifically electrified ambient re-imagination by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma.
“Daisychain” goes almost completely off the grid, offering up a sweetly submerged slab of constantly evolving murkiness in the vain of Demdike Stare or a dosed Andy Stott. The sweet shuffle levitates even higher with a celestial re-interpretation by sonic visionary Angel Deradoorian.
The end result is an extended traipse through Saturday evening fever-dream techno, Sunday morning cigarette jazz-pop, and every blank-thought in between.
released August 2, 2019
Written, recorded & produced by Moses John Archuleta (BMI) at Pearl Street, Atlanta, Georgia.
Mixed by Drew Vandenberg at Chase Park Transduction, Athens, Georgia.
Mastered by Heba Kadry at Timeless Mastering, Brooklyn, New York.
All other artists appear courtesy of themselves.
Designed by Farbod Kokabi for the Geographic North.
Photographed by David Naugle.