- scared of ferret
CD 2009 | Silber 074
11 tracks, 38 minutes
$12 ($14 international, $5 download (256 kbps, ~80 megs))
Listen to the track Into the Doom
The easy thing to write about
Moodring’s new album “Scared Of Ferret“, is that it’s a side project of
two Rollerball members – Mae Starr (Vocals, Keyboards) and Monte Trent
Allen (Bass, percussion). Rollerball is by far one of my favourite experimental
groups, and it’s a band that releases one great album after another. It’s
really hard to understand how they manage to control these bursts of ideas
and make a solid album out of them.
That’s why Scared is no surprise with its quality. But that was the easy part. Now you try to go ahead and describe this truly brilliant album, consists of free jazz extravaganza, with spooky keyboard layers, tribal gatherings, doomy psychedelia and an overall Sun Ra cloud hovering above. Wait, I just did.
But that’s not enough, coz Moodring’s album is much more then a random collection of under the influence tracks, happend to be found in an album. First, I should say it’s a daring addition to the already daring catalog of the fantastic North-Carolina label Silber Records. For those who misseed them so far, make sure you’ll go to their homepage and click on as many audio streamed files as you can.
Second, It’s worth pointing out, that although it’s a rather bizzare album, it doesn’t lose its focus and keeps the listener hooked to the captivating collection of abstract ideas and colors, gathered together in an album, by these two Rollerball musicians, joined by Jesse Stevens and Michael Barun Hamilton. Mae Starr’s voice is always haunting, scary at times, and constantly thrilling. She has the ability to put shivers down my neck as a last audiophilic supper before the too-early grave. The sound textures are vary from free jazz, esoterica, Can-style Groove, Gong-style textures, threatning keyboard arrangments and psychedelic horror film soundtracks. If Alejandro Jodorowski was to make another movie in 2010, it would be a terrific choice to take Sacred as the perfect soundtrack for it.
I’m a sucker for bedroom recordings, especially when it sounds like it was done with zero efforts and a constant joy of creation and band dynamics. This is no exception. Rollerball is around for too long and thus they understand how to make the home audio equipment work for you.
This a truly bizzare album. It’s dark yet not too heavy, it’s simple but then again has complex arrangemtns, it’s solid but each track is a master’s work. The many conflicts ain Moodring’s albums, like many Rollerball albuims, is what makes this band so special and this album to a delightful piece of work.
~ Small Town Romance
Featuring members of Rollerball,
The Plants and Nudge, the strangely named “Scare of Ferret” comes straight
from the proverbial melting pot, a heady mixture of free-form, drifting
psych, jazz grooves and plain madness, the sounds of Gong and Sun Ra played
by a group of confused tourists in the middle of a magic mushroom festival.
Opening with the 45 seconds hallucination that is “Pole Cat Intro” , the album moves quickly into a tribal ritual as “Rintin Fire” pulses into life, synths and echoed vocals whirling over the beat in a slow motion trance, a blissed out flute adding another layer of confusion to the swirl. On “#9”, an eastern feel is called-up, the song a wonderful slice of psychedelia that bring vision of a smoky dive, alive with possibilities and bathed in golden light.
After the free festival strangeness of the title track, “Shaker Tab” is another joyous homage to freakiness, the track positively glowing with energy as it journeys to the stars, passing aliens suddenly finding they are feeling far happier than before.
As you move through the album, you discover that there is cohesiveness within the chaos; the songs are obviously by the same band, although the relative normalness of “Colin Wilson” seems a long way from the kraut-rock iciness of “Bulbul Tarang”, this mood again dissipated by the mellow groove of “The Weasel”, a favourite of mine. I guess what they all share is a lysergic sheen, a desire to sound exactly how they want, something that is achieved with apparent ease.
Sounding like lounge music for the deranged,” Into the Doom” is another outstanding track, clarinet and vocals dancing over Can-like drumming and a glacial electronic pulse that forces me to use the phrase Kraut-Rock for the second time in this review, an obvious but useful reference point. After the brief dancing skeleton animation music of “Ricketts”, the band bow out with “Horse”, a track that could indeed be called proverbial melting pot, with everything that has gone before condensed into 5:23, ending a magnificent disc with chaotic grace and style. Undoubtedly a grower, that top ten, end of year list is beginning to look mighty crowded.
~ Simon Lewis, Terrascope
On their Silber Records debut
CD, Scared of Ferret, Moodring is set free to do anything (and everything)
they want. And they certainly go to town on this disc. It’s so rich and
bountiful in its layers of sounds – mostly “effects”, a “kaos pad” as well
as “hand percussion”, some electronic drum machine workings and some kind
of hybrid of both.
Moodring is the brainchild of Mae Starr and Monte Trent Allen, who used to play in Rollerball and was, at first, a “side project”, where the two could show off their own stuff, on their own. Moodring was the result of this split, which, of course, became permanent.
Between 2005 and 2007, Starr and Allen put out six limited run releases on the Nilla Cat label. In 2007 Jesse Stevens joined the band, at first helping out in live shows, playing the flute and drums, but he was retained, therefore added a new element or set of elements, since he plays the flute, drums and those ubiquitous “effects”, which abound on the disc, but they don’t dominate the songs, rather everything complements everything else.
On Scared of Ferret, the debut full-length CD for Silber Records, Stevens is around and also acted as recording engineer. Also, the band is now a quartet, with the addition of Michael Braun Hamilton to the band. Hamilton plays a bass clarinet plugged into an effects pedal and – wow! Hip, dude – the added dynamism of Hamilton’s jazzy horn mixed in there is a boon to their sound.
If one was comparing Moodring to another medium of art, I’d like to think that it would be to Abstract Expressionism and its predecessors. It’s not quite as outre as earlier art “schools” in the early 20th Century, like Dada or Surrealism, but the symbolism of Abstract Expressionism that was expressed in its seeming simplicity or its abstractness that, no doubt to some, appeared to be nonsensical or mocking, et cetera and not seeing or understanding how certain things represent other things and that these “symbols” can represent political overtones, social critiques, introverted ideas or paeans to loved ones or even nothing at all, which is the funniest of them all because those are the ones that art critics purport to give a “meaning to” when none exists.
The first few tunes on Scared of Ferret are slow and tres experimental. Songs like the opener, “Pole Cat Intro” and “Rintin Fire” are rather atonal and structured with chaos and “noise” a la Sonic Youth at their best, live but sans the urbane grittiness of the latter.
On cut three, “#9”, Mae’s vocalizing kicks in and only gets stronger and stronger as the album goes on. Song six, “Colin Wilson” is a slowed-down, haunting tune that reminds one a bit of the early dreaminess of the Jesus and Mary Chain.
The songs that really stand out are “Into the Doom”, which is really groovy and features Hamilton, who gets a chance to really shine here, on his bass clarinet, as well as a fiery vocalization from Starr. It’s probably the best tune on here. But that is a purely personal thing, subject to change at any time. Also good is the aforementioned “Colin Wilson”, “Bulbul Tarang”, a tangy jazzy-psych-out mix, whose eclectic sound makes it all the more inviting; “The Weasel” is pure gravy, while “Ricketts” has a bitchin’ drum solo in the middle and is a nice penultimate track, while we go out with “Horse” a dirge-like composition that mixes the “primitive ambience” of the first part of the CD with the jazzy, neo-psychedelia of songs 6-10.
~ Kent Manthie, Reviewer Magazine
Primitive and dark, Moodring’s
Scared of Ferret occupies a world of slow motion. The songs unfold gradually
with slight touches of exoticism. They’re largely instrumental but do feature
passages of far-off female vocals, more spoken than sung. The overall effect
can be otherworldly.
Begun as a more experimental-sounding duo, Moodring has become more accessible without losing all traces of its former self. Take “Horse,” with its tribal, steady beat and muted, harsh electronics. It becomes more traditional as it goes, though, mixing in A Certain Ratio’s rudimentary rhythms, but putting in some slowed-down vocals whose words can’t be readily deciphered (though “drinking their blood” and “black mass” can be made out). “The Weasel” takes a bassline from Joy Division, slows it down, and adds in light, jazzy drum touches. Its background of odd noises and stretched-out, distorted sounds is characteristic of the Moodring modus operandi. So is the echo and the reverb on the apparition-like vocals.
The title cut is driven by shakers and bits of guitar. It’s fleeting and wispy. “Colin Wilson” takes a lesson from reggae and dub, but only sort of. The drums get the occasional extra splash of reverb and the bassline would be more Bob Marley were it to be higher in the mix. The exoticism of “#9? takes the form of Eastern-sounding flute, as though the band had decided to pick something up from a trip to a Cairo bazaar. It’s got a snake-charmer vibe to go with its disembodied electronics and trance-like chanting. “BulBul Tarang” sounds like a death march, at least until the chaos of cymbals and flute overtake the proceedings.
Moodring doesn’t do things quite the way other bands do them. It isn’t exactly Gothic, or experimental, or ambient, but it has elements of each. The band doesn’t ever want you to get too comfortable. When David Lynch goes looking for a companion spirit to score his next film, he could do worse than tap Moodring for the honors.
~ David Smith, Delusions of Adequacy
I’m a sucker for living room
recorded madness that passes as pop to someone with brain damage like me,
but probably closer to psyche experimental noise-pop to you “normals” out
there: these are songs, they have beats, they have melodies, but they are
concocted with treated found objects and simple cheap casio or Arp synthesizers
and pretty girl voices (Vonnegut was correct when he wrote in Cats Cradle
that there is nothing more beautiful than the voices of young women). I
think that Yo La Tengo longs to go back to this recipe, in fact I know
they do. So theres your CD review. The rest is up to you: cue up a few
seconds or just cue up any highlighted track and let it rip, Brownian Motion
style. Let the track inspire what you choose next.
1) brief, amalgam of voice, synth, echoey’ness
2) slow, downtempo with noises swirling, chills a bit toward end
3) slow paced with a vague eastern harmonium sounding instrument, buried fem vocals, chill and cool
4) pretty, chill percussion and almost ambient
5) upbeat, noisey slightly and a tad more pensive
6) this has the narco head sway that I am looking for in lieu of sex
7) starts with a plodding minimal near noise thing but synths and vague melodies join the fray to make for a musical if psychedelic acid flashback
8) Yo La Tengo’ish sexy beat smothered in spaciness that makes me want to wrap myself around a soft body, but I’m a pervert and a sucker for a really good sexy song
9) the most “songlike” of the bunch, with a drumset beat, a clarinet melodie, cool and just plain musical, I like
10) brief, percussive
11) amalgam of minimal sounds culminating in a composition of good layered tones, guitars, musical, avoiding esotericism
A strange record, this. Based
on Scared of Ferret's sinister-looking cover, I was expecting black metal
or even noise. What I got, instead, was a free and whimsical experimental
rock record, spanning through influences as disparate as jazz, psych, videogame
music, and, yes, noise. It's a rambling, disjointed trip, certainly, but
also an inviting and intrepidly original one.
The essential element on Scared of Ferret is, appropriately, mood. The tribal, Diamanda Galas-inspired sinister majesty of "Rintin Fire" articulates Moodring's M.O. succinctly - although the band's formula changes from track to track (here it is haunting female vocals, a hypnotic rhythm, and amorphous gasps of feedback), the consistent approach is to craft entrancing musical soundscapes whose form is secondary to the overall atmosphere evoked. Burned-out psych groove "Colin Wilson," which elicits memories of Ash Ra Tempel in its acid-drenched mesmerism, is among the record's best efforts at conjuring up pure, sweltering feeling. Equally sublime "Into the Doom" takes an altogether different approach, matching an almost 8-bit synth bit with clarinet swooning and Mae Starr's unmistakeable crooning. It's an inspired, even awesome track - one of several on Scared of Ferret, which, disjointed as it may be, teems with indescribable wonder.
~ Matt Shimmer, indieville
Hailing from Portland Moodring
is band that saw the light of day in 2005. It all started as a side-project
of Rollerball. Mae Starr and Monte Trent Allen released 6 releases from
2005 till 2007 (!). Joined in 2007 by Jesse Stevens this collective finally
signed on to Silber Records to launch this new album. “Scared Of Ferret”
walks on different grounds, but always remains experimental. I guess it’s
not a coincidence they’ve been defined as experimental lounge music. That’s
not totally relevant to me, but I can understand the description. The sound
comes often quite close to some psychedelic fields while a few new-wave
influences aren’t far behind. “Colin Wilson” is remarkable piece in the
genre. The way of singing is also quite particular. It’s a kind of sterile,
lazy voice. A kind of mystic net hangs over a few songs, but especially
the very efficient “#9” is worthy of examination. I hear some vague Dead
Can Dance reminiscences and that’s more than a simple reference. “Rintin
Fire” is another song in a similar style. A different kind of mystic input
appears on “Into The Doom”. The flute play is remarkable and absolutely
well crafted. Moodring sounds really special and I sometimes get the impression
to hear new-wave music during a LSD-trip. It might sound a bit weird, but
this band is really able to bring you into a higher dimension? and this
by the simple listening of their sound! This is one of the best releases
I’ve heard on Silber Records.
Moodring started a side project
to Rollerball, an outfit that already pleased me with their contribution
to a Silber Records compilation. At the time I tagged Rollerball as slightly
jazzy and Moodring continues in that trend, albeit it a bit more psychedelic.
Scared Of Ferret seems to be their first proper album, after a previous
After a short intro and the slow "Rintin Fire" the album serves you the hypnotising "#9" on which Mae Starr showcases her voice. Abrasive drumwork, a clarinet and other odd sounds complete the whole and make it into something to which you can only nod your head. Songs like "Shaker Tab" and "Into The Doom" are rhythmically similarly excellent and near-addictive. In between these you'll find spacey songs like "Colin Wilson" or "Bulbul Tarang", the latter building to a fantastic climax. There are also several short experimental tracks in between which feel a bit like fillers.
Scared Of Ferret is, simply put, the shit. Laidback, jazzy and slightly psychedelic music with some excellent vocals. Sometimes it dwells a bit on experimental terrain, but when the band get their act together, there is no stopping them. Recommended.
Scared of Ferret is an album
laced with the gentle subconscious sounds of alienation. Always low key,
haunting vocal melodies drift in and out over a dense layer of electronic
sounds and instrumentation.
'Rintin Fire' is the epitome of this, with a cold brooding sound driven by a simple echoing drum beat. The track doesn't really go anywhere, but the atmosphere is such that it does manage to retain interest, almost despite itself.
At its best the music can be hypnotic, with percussive rhythms interrupted by the occasional gentle crescendos in the sound. '#9' evokes Kraftwerk with its sustained electronic notes, and the layered synths of 'Bulbul Tarang' build to a pleasing conclusion. Ultimately, though, there isn't really enough there to sustain interest. Too many of the pieces simply meander aimlessly, allowing the atmosphere the band so clearly want to create to turn stagnant. The vaguely unsettling vocals soon lose their lustre of mystery, and by the end of the album have become grating and uninterested. What begins with intriguing poise, ends with as an irritation.
Scared of Ferret is an alienating album. That, in itself, isn't a bad thing. The problem is that it doesn't feel alienating because of deliberate decisions by the band, rather, it feels alienating because the band sound apathetic and aloof, and seem to run out of ideas a little. Neither immediate enough to bring the listener on side, nor challenging enough to push any boundaries, the album ends up in an unhappy middle ground.
~ Richard Wheelhouse, Sea of Tranquility
Moodring hail from Portland,
Oregon and are centred around two members of Rollerball – Mae Starr on
vocals and keyboards and Monte Trent Allen on bass. In addition, the quartet
is completed by drummer Jesse Stevens and bass clarinettist Michael Braun
Hamilton. Scared of Ferret is a curious beast with its roots in early Can
and PIL with lashings of dub and a sprinkled topping of free jazz.
It’s also a strangely programmed album. Several of the tracks feel like mere sketches – ideas that have been abandoned before being fully developed and these are all loaded in the front half. The eastern tinged “Rintin Fire” and the improv work out “Shaker Tab” are the only tracks out of the first five that have any real substance to them, and even they are a little thin. Things don’t really get going until song six, “Colin Wilson”, which fuses a stoned dub with Starr’s gloomy contralto. From then on, everything seems much more focussed and fully realised. Indeed, the final six tracks (with the possible exception of the skeletal plinks, clicks and drums of “Riketts”) are terrific.
“Bulbul Tarang” starts out in a mood of dark ambience with a funereal drum beat before developing into a psychedelic drone piece with the clarinet wandering freely on top. With its dub vocal sighs and whispers and bass line not a million miles from Can’s “Mother Sky”, “The Weasel” is floaty and spacious. “Into the Doom” stands out. It has a sprightly electro-pop keyboard riff and a dreamy clarinet melody. For once Starr’s vocals aren’t buried shyly away, but are more forceful, sounding a little like Carla Bozulich. Things conclude with the slo-mo nightmare freakout of “Horse”.
Scared of Ferret is half way to being an exceptional album, but there’s too much in the first half that feels like it needs more. I wouldn’t call it filler – that would imply a band on autopliot – but just unfinished. The good stuff makes up for it, though, being both challenging and inviting at the same time.
~ Music Musings & Miscellany
This is the seventh release
in the past five years from this Rollerball sideproject featuring the duo
of Mae Starr and Monte Trent Allen, accompanied by assorted likeminded
loonies on the bus. Bowel-cleansing rumblings, earth-trembling percussion,
disembodied vocals, and assorted effects, loops, and the ever-popular “kaos
pad” add up to one horrific mindfuck – a Halloween party from hell and
one of the gloomy-doomiest releases this side of Trent Reznor’s NIN heyday.
“#9” adds some intriguing clarinet bursts straight out of some kif-induced
trawl through a Morroccan bazaar, and there’s a gothic slice of vintage
Cure slicing through the instrumental title track.
Things actually get rather festive on the crackling, percussion-driven “Ricketts” and the bubbly “Shaker Tab,” although the latter still sounds like someone’s strangling a rabid monkey in the background! There’s a funky dub groove to “Colin Wilson” that wouldn’t be out of place on an old Killing Joke album. In fact, the whole experience could serve as a revisionist soundtrack to The Last House on The Left or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With songs about ferrets, weasels, and ricketts, this isn’t exactly the thing to toss on at a kid’s birthday party, unless you want to scare the bejeezus out of the little buggers. From Allen’s Jah Wobble-inspired bass throbbings to Starr’s distorted, House of Horror shreikings that’d have Nina Hagen shitting her panties, to the post-apocalyptic free-jazz skronkings of Michael Braun Hamilton’s effects-laden bass clarinet and the end of the world floor-rattling drumpounding of Jesse Stevens, you’ll be scared of a hell of a lot more than ferrets once you’re finished with this one. Grab this early Halloween treat now and prepare to be afraid…very afraid.
~ Jeff Penczak, Foxy Digitalis
That's a toxic tinkering
album. It's stoned psychdelic Music, with a slight jazz-esque background,
from the brainchild of Mae Starr and Monte Trent Allen, also from Rollerball,
There's a long, hypnotic track, called Colin Wilson, a pure opus here: - dub bass line, ghostly, grave, female vocals, airy guitars harmonies, mid-tempo drums, - it sounds like if Bowery Electric of Beat were duetting with Low of I Could Live in Hope; a sicked mantra that suddenly falls into the suffocated drones of Bulbul Tarang, turning into a synth catharsis, hidden voices, distortion, winds and dazing sounds.
Anyway, the mesmerizing cut is still high on The Weasel, - kraut and drugged, effected vocals, echoed and broken, - fully charming.
Into The Doom is a song radiating self-possession in every single note, driven by an obsessive keyboard riff and a clarinet solo, - Horse is playground for djing with noise with a groovy trip-hop drumming, with an unexpected hard-rock psychedelic ending, - and i'd be ready to bet it's Bret Constatino from Sleepy Sun to sing.
~ Paolo Miceli, Komakino
Mae Starr and Monte Trent
Allen, also in Rollerball, are at it again with their genre-defying side
project Moodring, which may possibly be a quartet now (?). The name is
appropriate, as the tracks seem to be at least as much about creating moods
as they are about composing songs intricately from start to finish. My
guess is that the musicians lay down a few ideas and then mess with the
material in the studio until it sounds not quite like anything you’ve heard
before. A Moodring record always sounds to me like many late nights at
the computer were involved. As usual, the production is super creative
with many surprises and odd textures that keep things interesting. A few
guests appear on this one, adding drums, woodwinds… maybe some other stuff.
A worthy release.
~ Max Level, KFJC
this is a rum bugger.
some kind of noirish jazz exotica. part david lynch part sun ra.
has some of that primitive psyche folk vibe that all the best sunburned
hand of the man shit has. when they get into the hazy fug of percussive
grooves and prog lounge freakouts all the ghosts in my haunted head get
queered the fuck out. it’s a heady mixture of the organic and the
synthetic, full of spook-house vocal mumblings and claustrophobic dub clatter.
dense. full of smoke and tar. man do i dig this.
~ cows are just food
you can expect plenty of
Silber action over the course of the next few missives. a North Carolina
based imprint who we must admit we’ve quietly admired from afar these last
few years who have been in touch with us twice during these last few days
- once via losing today wherein they kindly sent links to their latest
/ forthcoming releases (if that is I recall rightly) and also via our my
space update page whereupon Brian - chief Silber drew our gaze and ever
attentive ear in the general direction of Moodring whose debut release
‘scared of Ferret’ he described with persuasive succinctness as ‘awesome’
before qualifying such high regard with a general description that reads
“other words to describe them are a bit harder to come by. The presence of piano & clarinet give a free post-jazz flavour. Mae Starr’s ghostly vocals sound like the lounge music on a sinking ship. The deep groove jams sink in to form some kind of modern American gamelan sound. The music is raw & infectious & immediate & feels more proto-everything than post-anything”.
So with that we were prepped to expect something we could kiss and whole heartedly recommend without fear of rebuke or humiliation, a little rummage through the labels showcasing my space player offered up for our listening delight ‘into the doom’. We selected. We waited for said track to kick into life. We listened in awe. There was the occasional tapping of foot. A more frequent raising of an eyebrow - the right one in case you’re taking notes. And of course an appreciative nod of the head. I think he’s onto something here we thought to ourselves. ‘into the doom’ is as equally likely to appeal to admirers of Fever Ray as it to Transglobal Underground whilst alternatively likewise bridging the finite gaps between of Neu! / Tangerine Dream and Ariel Kalma / Tubby Hayes. It really is a curiously contagious hybrid of styles, primarily underpinned with a definable krautrock groove enhanced by the mesmerising cosmically voyaging electronic loops. Weaved between a seductively sultry snake charming middle Tibetan like voodoo / arabesque mirage like signature atop of which Mae Starr weaves a demurring and uber sexy love spell that at times has her sounding like some secret love child of Grace Jones. Expect further Silber and of course Moodring action in these pages soon.
~ Mark Barton, Losing Today
Born as a side project of
two Oregon guys who play under the Rollerball moniker, after growing to
a quartet, Moodring has landed on Silber with their newest album titled
SCARED OF FERRET. After a couple of listening, the eleven tracks of the
album made me recall the atmospheres of old Kraut rock records. You know,
stuff like Amon Duul or the first Kraftwerk but in this case Moodring succeeded
into mixing the tribal attitude of the tracks with the space trip mood
by using also free jazz influences thanks to the use of piano and clarinet.
Tracks like "#9" or "Shaker tab" are a good example of what I'm saying
because of their oblique approach to melody and sounds. Keeping high the
level of experimentation the band didn't compose tunes without sense of
melody by producing a drugged mishmash, they approached the track list
like a long session were there's an overwhelming feeling of alienation
(psychic kind of) produced with the use of rock language where here and
there female vocals lead the dance. Nice one...
~ Maurizio Pustianaz, Chain D.L.K.
Monte & Mae are best
known for their work with Rollerball, an outfit that has been bouncing
around the underground for nearly a decade and a half. Moodring is where
Monte & Mae let their freakier jams reside, which is pretty freaking
freaky considering the canon of material produced by the mother ship Rollerball.
What started out as a side project for the couple has morphed into a full
fledged band. In 2007 Jesse Stevens (OvO & Plants fame) joined the
fold; he also acted as recording engineer on this album. Michael Braun
Hamilton (Nudge/Momeraths) added some more spice to the secret sauce with
his spaced out clarinet-ing & bass burbling. Strabage Hands (a.k.a.
Shane “Bunny” De Leon a.k.a. Miss Massive Snowflake) designed the beautiful
black & white packaging the CD resides in. Shane was in Rollerball
for a good chunk of its existence.
“Scared of Ferret” is an appropriate name for this disc. That animal has always given me the willies. There is something spooky, visceral and feral about Moodring’s music. Moodring creates these great claustrophobic grooves that slither and slide between the cracks in the haunted basement of one’s mind. Mae’s vocal range can go from angelic to demonic (in a good way). Jesse’s drumming give form and forward movement to these spectral druid jams. The drumming allows Monte & Mae to go way out there in their “melting the cheese on the radiator” as Brother JT would say, while Jesse makes sure they keep on trucking. Monte Bass burbles & bleats while Michael adds to space drip-page with his sonic sloshing of his clarinet, much like the role that Shane had when he was in Rollerball.
“Pole Cat Intro” features some ghostly mumblings, keyboard blubbering, percussion clattering and spaced-out flute before seamlessly transitioning to “Rintin Fire.” The basketball percussion, washes of static and Mae’s disembodied vocals creep along the ground like a thick fog on some forsaken wasteland. #9 sounds like it could be a Rollerball outtake, with the gypsy accordion & Mae’s gorgeously delayed vocals. The clarinet gives an eerie eastern European feel to the song. “Shaker Tab” features the sound of a toy keyboard dying with a propulsive house beat; the discordant elements somehow meld into a slightly insane driving, maddening, yet pleasing mix. “The Weasel” is a kraut-rocking jam that features Monte’s stellar space bass grooves and Mae’s back-masked vocals, which seem to collapse in the black hole created by the heavy grooves. My favorite track on the disc by far is Into the Doom. A simple loop slides on down the path and is joined by clarinet, bass & drums. Mae’s vocal are soon too on the march. Another bird-like theremin sound floats above the mix. The song fades out as the parade finally passes.
This album is a great addition to the Moodring catalog. I think the guest performers add depth, space and movement to their other-worldly jams. The music is dense and complex, chilling yet pleasing. This music is perfect for autumnal nights when you want to get your spook on.
~ Dan Cohoon, a=1/f squared
My first contact with this
band (a duo at first, now a quartet) that’s been active since 2005. It
is basically a side project of the band Rollerball, who does slightly twisted
indie rock. On Scared of Ferret, I’m hearing a darker, doom take on Rollerball.
Same quality in songwriting, but in an ethereal, ghostly post-jazz guise
(Mae Starr’s vocals definitely have a doomed quality). It’s nice but not
particularly remarkable, although a second spin could change my mind.
~ François Couture, Monsieur Delire
The band logo and the writing
style of the album title makes one think that this is probably a death-
or black metal release. But the truth is very different from that. Cause
with Moodring there’s absolutely no speaking of metal music in any kind.
Moodring creates music which can be described as a mix of indie, avant-garde
and post-rock. It’s a very interesting mix and the result is quite reasonable.
I’m saying reasonable because there are a few things that bring this album
down, like the soft production, the terrible artwork and the singing is
often too soft. Despite of that ‘Scare of Ferret’ is still a adequate album.
That’s because Moodring mixes the different styles in a way that fits very
well to the band. It results in a pleasant album that sometimes even reminds
of the music by Dead Can Dance. Although Moodring doesn’t equal with that
legendary band, the music does sounds good and interesting. But when they
didn’t screwed up the artwork and they gave ‘Scared of Ferret’ a better
production it would have been better.
There is a very thin line
between noise and really awesome fun times in today’s musical climate.
More and more lo-fi indie bands are being called the next big thing, which
makes it hard to actually make your way through all the crap to get to
the good stuff. Moodring lean a bit more to the noise side – there
isn’t much really awesome fun time throughout the eleven tracks that make
of Scared of Ferret. It is unfortunate too; tracks like “#9? and
closer “Horse” are very strong, but are overshadowed by the lack of punch
from the rest of the group. Watch out though – this band may get
big one day. They have the potential.
An offshoot of the weird-jazz
ensemble Rollerball, Moodring has that band’s freedom with sound and their
ability to scare the beejezus out of you. What they do with sounds is fascinating
and scary. Listen to “Shaker Tab”, which has a flurry of percussion and
squirming equipment noises but also, surprisingly, a catchy tune. Or “Bulbul
Tarang”, a five-minute meditation over guitar and drum that amplifies the
noise as it moves, like a prayer turned into torture. Then horns come in
and it breaks free and clear, sort of, though I still hear doom hanging
in the air at the end.
~ Dave Heaton, Erasing Clouds
Moodring je psychedelický
odšt?pek impro/jazz/rockového kvintetu Rollerball. Jejich první
dlouhohrající album Scared Of Ferret nezaostává
ve stylové rozkro?enosti v?bec nic dlužno pov?sti všežravé
základní kapely. Ba naopak. B?hem necelých 40 minut
kapela projede jak na horské dráze mrazivými bažinami
kytarového ambientu, nezapomene vymáchat poslucha?e v protorockovém
primitivismu starých dobrých Suicide ?i This Heat, krautrových
Can ?i americké mathrockové škole Slint nebo Liars.
~ Pavel Zelinka, Radio Wave
Gli statunitensi Moodring
sono formati da due membri dei Rollerball (la vocalist e tastierista Mae
Starr e il bassista Monte Trent Allen), a cui si aggiungono il batterista
Jesse Stevens e il clarinettista Michael Braun Hamilton.
“Scared Of Ferret” è un album peculiare, un ibrido tra dark ambient, psichedelia, free jazz e dub, con innesti etnico – orientaleggianti dai toni suggestivi ed evanescenti, in cui molti brani sono semplicemente degli abbozzi, altri, invece, sono lunghi ed evocativi - come, ad esempio, l'eterea “Colin Wilson”- in ogni caso di grande atmosfera, anche se di difficile ascolto e sicuramente (specie gli ultimi sei brani dell'album) non sempre “digeribili” da un ascoltatore che non sia fortemente interessato al genere.
Spesso, le sonorità della band si riducono ad uno scheletrico susseguirsi di suoni e rumori, teso alla più estrema e ostica sperimentazione sonora.
Che dietro l'album vi sia una ricerca e un'audacia artistica è innegabile, ma, obbiettivamente, non tutti i brani sono pienamente fruibili, e solo la presenza di alcuni momenti piacevoli rende l'album sufficientemente interessante.
~ Alone Music
Porte che si aprono e poi
si richiudono, lasciando dietro segni e misteri. Misteri strani. Questa
recensione sarei tentato di proporla così: "E per concludere mi
viene voglia (ma tanta voglia) di pensare (una volta per sempre) una sola
parola magica. La parola si chiama catastrofe". Senza possibilità
di appello e di alcuna redenzione. Mi mancano le forze per rompere gli
indugi. Il buio della notte non promette nulla di buono, il nero ricorda
solamente tragedie e morte affilata. Non sembra ma il suono (corposo) dei
Moodring è un magma rancoroso che irrita all'ascolto. Punge i capezzoli
e li strofina fino a farli sanguinare. Un wall of sound, poderoso, che
ingloba nelle sue coordinate artistiche elementi rock e free jazz (!).
Sono note di potenza pura che annichiliscono anche l'ascoltatore più
esperto. Veramente tutto molto intrigante. "Scared Of Ferret" è
un album compilato con tanta ragione, è un disco free. Un cd libero
da impegni cattivi e malvagi, sobrio e privo di false costrizioni. Non
lega facilmente con nessun genere musicale, per cui difficilmente catalogabile
e questo spiega la sua brillante bellezza. I Moodring sono liberi, artisti
liberi che fanno godere i loro strumenti, provocando volutamente meravigliosi
orgasmi. Perchè la musica è veramemte libertà di espressione.
~ Claudio Baroni, Musica Popalare
Album come questo che ci accingiamo a proporvi sono una manna per chi, come il sottoscritto, si trova ad ascoltare tonnellate di dischi per la gran parte allineati con i canoni di un’estetica musicale spesso non condivisibile. Infatti il debutto dei Moodring sulla Silber Records é un’opera di non facile assimilazione ma che alla lunga premia la pazienza dell’ascoltatore.
Scared of Ferret é una collezione di undici brani di difficile catalogazione fluttuanti tra l’ambient ed il free jazz senza disdegnare fascinazioni sperimentali. Insomma un avvolgente tappeto sonoro dove la ritmica riesce a garantire sufficiente variazione da rendere il prodotto finale appetibile anche ai novizi dei generi citati. Tracce come Into the Doom si lasciano apprezzare grazie ad un ottimo beat di fondo intorno a cui voce e strumenti gravitano con eleganza, cesellando cinque estatici minuti di lounge. In Colin Wilson il cantato di Mae Starr rinvigorisce con gusto le stanche geometrie strumentali, mentre in #9 divagazioni zingaresche aggiungono ulteriore valore ad un lavoro che non deluderá le aspettative degli aficionado delle sfumature piú alternative del mercato musicale.
~ Alessandro Bonetti, Kronic
E’ così quando ho
sentito i Moodring ho esclamato “Bingo!”. Il loro album Scared of Ferret
è una summa di furia creativa priva di reti e di schemi che conduce
a uno stile e una sonorità originale e assolutamente spiazzante
dove convivono riferimenti diversi, provenienti dal mondo della EtnoMusic
(per alcuni ritmi e l’utilizzo delle percussioni ossessive) e da quello
della musica elettronica, senza dimenticarsi di inserire dei fraseggi quasi-Jazz.
Datemi pure del pazzo, ma a me ricordano tantissimo un incontro tra i Morphine e John Zorn.
Il vero miracolo di questo gruppo è che riesce a compiere questa contaminazione estrema tra generi, rimanendo però nell’alveo sicuro del Rock. La sensazione finale, il retrogusto di questa opera, infatti, è quella di un album rock, l’ultimo avamposto di una colonia Rock nella lontana galassia della musica alternativa.
Forse proprio per questo Scared of Ferret può piacere e convincere. Fate però attenzione: occorre pazienza per poter assimilare i Moodring, non basta di certo un ascolto distratto perché non è il tipo di musica da metter in auto con gli amici mentre si va per locali.
Tra i brani più efficaci “Into the Doom” (qui l’assonanza con i Morphine è davvero evidente), “Shaker Tabs” un gulash tribal-elettronico (mi ricorda un pezzo Taarab, un tipo di musica suonata in Tanzania nei locali sulla costa vicino a Zanzibar: se non mi credete cercate negli autogrill negli scatoloni zozzi con i cd a tre euro alla rinfusa e se - come me - avrete fortuna nel trovare una compilation di Taarab, ascoltatela e mi darete di sicuro ragione) e “Colin Wilson” ipnotica e Janesaddictioneggiante.
~ Black Milk
Dopo una raffica di CD-R
pubblicati dalla Nillacat tra il 2005 e il 2007, il progetto parallelo
di Mae Starr e Monte Trent Allen – rispettivamente voce e basso dei Rollerball
- debutta su Silber in formazione allargata con Jesse Stevens dei Plants
e Michael Braun Hamilton dei Nudge. “Scared Of Ferret” è “più
proto-qualcosa che post-qualcosa”, secondo una frase della press release
che mi sembra calzante: “Rintin Fire“ e “Bulbul Tarang” spalancano le porte
su un “futuro preistorico” dove si aggirano i fantasmi di Can e This Heat,
nel buco nero di “Colin Wilson” il suono dei Bowery Electric di “Beat”
si fonde alla matrice black dei primi Killing Joke, “Shaker Tab” e “#9”
profumano di P.I.L. e “Flowers Of Romance”, di souk e medioriente. Inclassificabile
e alieno (e consigliato) al pari dei dischi più ispirati dei Rollerball.
~ Raffaele Zappalà, Rockerilla