_moonraker, the duo of Kenneth_Lay and Jason Carr, are among a small cluster of artists in Philadelphia currently applying their histories in the US noise scene to raw and psychedelic takes on techno. The former is also one half of Metasplice, who run a similar line in scrambled radio interference and swarming high-pitched bleeps. Beyond that, any concrete information about the duo is refreshingly difficult to come by, though expect that to change soon enough: they've signed an upcoming release to Trilogy Tapes and are about to follow up this debut with a second 12-inch for Great Circles.
An informed guess would suggest that the duo's compositional approach resembles that of Metasplice, where a network of hardware and effects units is used as the basis for live recorded, on-the-fly improvisation. All five tracks have a distinctly hand-controlled feel—you can practically hear parameters being tweaked in real-time. Across opener "Moonrise" a background cloud of harmonics repeatedly billows into the foreground, forming a series of successive peaks, each one higher than the last. The tension is finally released six minutes in, when the track explodes into full flight above a booming four-to-the-floor kick drum, before swiftly dissolving into showers of static. The panicked drum machines of "Spark Joint" make it the hardest hitting thing on here by a considerable margin; at the surface it spits, hisses and arcs like an overhead cable gone haywire.
Elsewhere the mood is more restrained, though no less caustic. "Described Circles/Amaranth Haze" and "Lost in a Crater" both sound as though the tape they're recorded on has been frazzled by radiation exposure. The latter is particularly striking—a single lead line plays a sad, trumpet-like melody, but it's a ghost presence in the rough grain of its environment, where surface distortion and grinding low-end threaten to swallow it up entirely.
Buy _moonraker - M Type EP at
Tracklist: _moonraker - M Type EP A1 Moonrise
A2 Described Circles / Amaranth Haze
B1 Lost In Crater
B2 Spark Joint
B3 Plutonium On The Low