Redness Moon by Fantasmes (Last Bummer Records)
The winds carry the salty tang of the ocean, the sun riding high in the slate blue sky. Sand blows around your feet on the hot beach as you carry your board to the water. Waves crash a distance from the shore, surfers carve their way through and in front of the waves as the swells crash and again meld with the azure ocean water. Along the breeze you catch sounds of children’s laughter mixing with the clucking of the seagulls until you can’t tell the difference between bird and child. You wade into the sandy water and soon make your way past the waves until you reach your destination. The water is heavy yet clear, you can see the bottom but it is deceptive as the current is strong. Back on the beach someone is pounding on a drum, or is it your heart or the pounding of the waves on the shore? A wave passes: it wasn’t the right one. Another. Another. Your heart begins to pound from the exertion of failing to catch that wave. Then the breeze seems to take away all sound but that of the movement of the water. It’s time. You paddle to the left towards a swell and just when you think you’ve missed the curl, you drop in.
The music of Puerto Rican duo Mario Negron and Dario Morales brings to mind the beach and the waves, the sun and the moon, of dancing blissfully under the stars around a crackling campfire, of picnicking in the mountains, surrounded by trees and smells and nature. Negron and Morales also delve into the landscape of the mind using effects to tweak our brains such as the monologue buried under the heavy blues stomp of Play It Wrong or the hard picked acoustic guitar swirls of Today Is Still, bells and there and gone wind instruments. Fantasmes are just as interested in creating a shade from the sun mellow mood as they are an urban neon in the night, dark alleys and blues club feel as heard on the dirty grind of Monster’s Mother and the aforementioned Play It Wrong. But the real mind-blower is Redness Moon‘s closing track(s) Tell Me/Nothing Is Wrong as Negron and Morales build a woozy, smoky atmosphere with a circularly plucked electric guitar, light and echoing vocals, tambourine and bassy fills. Three minutes in the proceedings get evil and dangerous with scary ambience as the instruments drop out and spine-chilling sounds creep in. As even more frightening elements join in, just when you’re thinking of turning on the lights and turning off the music, a strummed acoustic guitar segues in, Negron’s soothing voice wafts over your troubled psych and you breath a sigh of relief as the album fades away on a peaceful breeze.
(by Bret Miller)