…or the music equivalent of an abstract expressionist painting

1.Inward/2. Black/3. Far/4. Wasting/5. Wrong/6. Try/7. Desertion/8.Without/9. Feel/ 10. Deeper/ 11.Being

Release Date: 30 March 2015, Captured Tracks

An album as a multilayered work of art

COVEREXACTYX;1413474707887602;TheSoftMoon1413474707887602.jpg;220;220It’s not often that I compare my experience in listening to an album with that of seeing an exhibition of painting. Listening to ‘Deeper’ was exactly like seeing the works of Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer. This feeling was instantaneous as I was listening to ‘Inside’ and its almost seamless transition to the second track ‘Black’. After 40’ the album finished and this thought returned and validated itself. In the paintings of Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer the thick layers of coloured paint reveal their depth throughout the surface of the painting as long as the viewer observes them. In ‘Deeper’ all the levels are revealed and dissolved even before one realises that they are there in the duration of the first two songs; and it’s only during ‘ Far’ that we understand what has preceded. Behind the sound that replicates that of a motor, we hear an agonising attempt to metaphorically scratch all the sonic layers that make up these two tracks. The hard to decipher vocals in the form of whispers are also multi layered and enhance this feeling that Luis Vasquez is attempting to transfer us to several levels below the apparent and the evident ‘surface’ of this world and at this point ‘Far’ begins. Listening to the rest of the album we realise that the order of the songs is carefully organised so that a circle of meanings is opened and closed within 40’. Every song only pushes us further inside this ‘unfamiliar’ environment but mind you, that this is not a harmonious free-fall but rather a ‘guided’ tour into our psyches; whether one can exit from this deep plunge is another question but as always, it is the trip that matters the most!

All this album’s layers of sonic colour…

The release of the 7” entitled ‘Feel‘ in 2014 prepared us for ‘Deeper‘ and ‘Hunger‘, my favourite of the two songs of the EP couldn’t describe better what ‘Deeper’ would be about. This album stands in between the debut album and ‘Zeros’ but unlike the latter where vocals had more of an aesthetic and psychological role, the lyrics in ‘Deeper’ are decipherable. The Soft Moon, a.k.a Luis Vasquez collaborated with producer Maurizio Baggio at Venice’s Hate Studio for this album. Maurizio Baggio was a guest musician in two  indie rock/ psych rock albums released in 2013 and 2014 by Universal Sex Arena and Ema. He has also produced the  album ‘The Glamour Manifesto’ by the homonymous band. Maurizio Baggio has collaborated with The Soft Moon before,for the release of  the 7” EP ‘Feel’  and in ‘Deeper’ he had the role of mixing and refining the distinct elements that make up the almost suffocating sonic atmosphere of Soft Moon.The songs’ titles in this album are monosyllable words which as such, are hinting at a story and the music that envelops and ‘describes’ these words in each track, reveal a trail of ideas. Ultimately it is up to us to dance to, think, feel and imagine, the story that connects all these words together. ‘Wasting’ and ‘Try’ have strong new wave influences in their rhythm and vocal style but at the same time they are surrounded by a darker than new wave genre, sonic atmosphere full of perplexity and interesting rhythmic and stylistic alterations. ‘Wasting’ in particular, starts with a very slow almost hypnotizing rhythm which gradually increases from the middle towards the end thus creating the impression of an environment that exists in slow motion. I consider this approach of one’s influences to be creative and substantial therefore positive. Luis Vasquez has composed music that is not a replication of past music but it rather takes a step forward towards creating a new style which is genuine. Who would confidently interject a song with clear funky, psych trance influences (i.e. ‘Wrong’) and even influences from tribal music (i.e. ‘Deeper’) in between songs with industrial and new wave influences in the same album?! Believe it or not I welcomed these seemingly ‘out of place’ interjections that happen throughout this album as from example in ‘Try’.

The Soft Moon has been introduced to us in 2010 with a strong and emotionally powerful experimental element in all aspects. In this album this element is also expressed through the selective appearance of vocals within each song. As in the previous albums, Luis Vasquez is only singing in each song, when it is aesthetically and contextually necessary. This seems to be a very conscious choice so that the vocals won’t obscure the multi-layered sounds that accompany them but rather enhance their role by giving them the necessary space and duration. In any other case the defining role of the multi-layered music in the music of this band could neither be appreciated nor discerned. Personally I feel that the album succeeded in making me appreciate the role of every single sound at every moment of every song and when ‘Deeper’ was presaging the end of the album after almost 30’, I was already inside the deepest subconscious maze that I could find myself. Besides, the album’s title was already a ‘warning’ of what would follow even if we are unaware of the fact that the aim of this album was to “…discover the reality and nightmare of living with yourself, in entirely foreign surroundings with nothing and no one to fall back on…” (Luis Vasquez, extract from official press release).I couldn’t help but notice that ‘Feel’ follows the trail that has been drawn by the older ‘Zeros’ as ‘Desertion’ follows the trail of ‘Die Life’ which is one of the songs from the album ‘Zeros’ that has become very popular in the dark alternative/gothic clubs’ dance floors! If ‘Try’ marks the end of the first part of the album then I would expect that the second half would be particularly welcomed by fans of darkwave music.


In the previous two albums the band has shown a preference for Bauhaus and constructivist aesthetics especially as far as the artwork was concerned. In ‘Deeper’ the artwork is in accordance with the music and alludes to abstract expressionist paintings. The result is memorable and the songs have the capacity of clinging to memory as easily as the songs of the previous albums which have been included in djs’ playlists. We read that in the process of making this album ‘old wounds were forcibly opened, deep anger and paranoia were manipulated into song’ (Luis Vasquez, extract from official press release) and at the same time I feel that the whispers and the agonising vocals are luring us into our deepest inner places where all these feelings originate from. The Soft Moon will be starting a North American tour on April 2015 and will be playing live at The Garage on May 25th 2015. Tickets for the live in London can be purchased by following this link, but until then it will be numerous times that we will be willingly entering the emotional and sonic maze created by ‘Deeper’ and each time we will come out of this maze a little bit different and probably wiser!



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