Moser Woods

by Jason Hoffman Tryptophan
Being a band that only plays original music in Fort Wayne is tough. Being a band that only plays progressive instrumental original music in Fort Wayne is downright insane. And yet Moser Woods are doing just that and doing it so astoundingly well that they nearly won last year’s Battle of the Bands.

Over a year in the making, Moser Woods are releasing Tryptophan, a massive slab of 14 tracks running 73 minutes. While tryptophan is the famed chemical in turkey that makes one sleepy, the music of Moser Woods will do anything but put you to sleep, and the album ain’t no turkey. Sure, it’s a three-piece combo consisting of guitar, keyboards and drums, but like any good power trio these three come together to form a huge sound. Witness “Intro,” a shimmering atmosphere of Gilmour-esque guitars that lead the way to “Sirkus,” where an orange sun slowly appears over the mountains only to take an ominous turn when the piano leads the band to a heart-pounding finale. Or “Bidadadow,” where urgent yet clean guitar and piano play linear melodies that intermix like a fugue. “Aquarius Invertigo” is a brief respite of melodic solo fingerpicked acoustic guitar before the band divebombs into “Nasty Pans,” a manic improvisational whirlpool of distorted rock guitar, orchestral strings and drums held together by a repeating chromatic figure, a compositional technique also used in “First Song,” albeit with jazz guitar chords. The title track is a minute of heavily flanged noise that alternates with ring-modulated tones, just to see if you’re listening, before “Bipolar Weather” begins with theremin-like sci-fi sounds, a reedy organ and loads of dissonance. “Nodes of Change” is a pleasing stroll through a quaint European village, a village where a brawl breaks out, but they’re all neighbors, so there’s no real spite, just astounding performances from all three members. The album ends with three whoppers, each clocking in around 10 minutes. You just have to hear these to appreciate their far-reaching impact, preferably with headphones.

Describing their music as progressive, experimental, and psychedelic, Lance Hoeppner, Shawn Bryan and Rick Kinney have given a humble forest quite a legacy with Tryptophan, their first album full of songs that appeal to the head as much as the heart. The official release party is on July 13 at Columbia Street West with The Wailhounds, followed by an all ages show on July 14 at Headwaters Park, followed by a Friemann Square show on July 15. What? No Moser Park show? Check www.moserwoods.net for more album information as well as additional concert dates.

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