There are a few times in my life when I have heard new music and was stunned. “What exactly was that? I’ve never heard anything like that before. What the hell was that? I need to hear it again—and again—and again.” Some instances I can recall: 1) As a teenage kid hearing “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, 2) As a slightly older teenage kid hearing Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Tarkus,” 3) Around the same time—“Dance of the Maya” by John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, 4) As a college student hearing Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” for the first time, 5) Later in adulthood hearing Dimitri Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, particularly the leaping slightly off-kilter fanfares that start the piece, and 6) “Cult of Personality” by the late 80s/early 90s group, Living Colour. Now we can add to that “Dichotomy” by MoeTar. Thank you Magna Carta records for keeping me on your mailing list and letting me know about these people.
“Dichotomy” is one of a number of really captivating cuts in the MoeTar
style. I’ll discuss each cut individually. Generally, we have the
crystal clear female vocal stylings (except for occasional raspiness in
the upper range) of Moorea Dickason over adventurous rhythms and
harmonies (most writing credits are attributed to bassist Tarik Ragab)
producing a sound that is hard to compare to anything I’ve heard before.
Certainly influences from progressive rock both past and present are
evident. But this really is an original sound. And during some sections,
if you want to sing along, you are going to have a challenge keeping up
with Moorea Dickason as she sings complex vocal lines in unison, and
sometimes in harmony, with the guitar and keyboard. Do I think MoeTar
will break through the way Jimi Hendrix did? In this current music
climate, probably not. This music takes effort to absorb—effort well
worth expending, by the way—and often in our culture now it is the
simple, sometimes overly simple, pounding drum and bass lines under
step-like melodies with easy leaps that catch our attention, then fade
quickly as their shallowness causes our attention to drift to the next
banality. But those of us who like our music fresh, and inventive, and adventurous, need to stick up for acts like MoeTar. And—encourage them to produce more music!
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