16 December 2015
Bad as good: demanding, intriguing, sometimes virtuosic, onerous on memory and a very big and satisfying performance from just 2 players. This is Mother Jack. MJ is the pop-experimental duo of Casey Moir and Johan Moir. The pair returns to Canberra every so often. Casey studied at the ANU School of Music in its best days and has family in Australia. Casey and Johan now live in Sweden. They occasionally join with Luke Sweeting and others to tour as Svelia, as international combination, in Australia or Europe or Scandinavia (Sveglia plays this Saturday night, 19 Dec, at Groove Warehouse - recommended). MJ played just a single set, but what a committed, unyielding, demanding set it was. MJ is centred on Casey's hugely adventurous voice and, I think, her compositions. Casey also fills with glockenspiel or drums and loops. Johan on essentially jazz or groove bass with octaver and more and some harmony or accompanying voice. This music has purpose: adamant and assertive lyrics telling true emotions and stories, expressed with the most searching of vocal effects. Time changes, repetition, insistence, loops, echo and a a richly processed sound from just 2 players. I'm fine is about how you answer that barren question with gritted teeth; So empty is of emotional bleakness; Everyone dies is, strangely, a reminder to live life to the full while you can; You just don't get me is a frustration; others are Problems and Talking and Lost. Homing birds was a thing of great beauty, with voice authentically mimicking cooing pigeons. The last tune was a driver contending that I cannot oblige (with some expectations of others). Serious stuff, worthy of the listen for both the poetry and the intriguing musicality. I melted to hear Casey form a pure chord with the looper, so clear, so choral. It's strange to be listening to clear and repetitive voices and look up to see no singer/s, just the machine repeating the human product. But all this is not easy: Casey mentioned how much she had to remember to play this music. No doubt; not much spontaneity possible here. There are touches of jazz and more, but indie has to describe it. More JJJ than JazzTrack but a stunner.
Mother Jack is Casey Moir (vocals, percussion, glockenspiel, electronics, loops) and Johan Moir (bass, effects). MJ performed at Smiths.