It was sometime around last year when Last Day Deaf had the pleasure to host the exclusive premiere of the three-piece Scottish/German musical project split between Düsseldorf and Shanghai, Mood Taeg‘s (pronounced Mood Tag) EP ‘Versions‘. Today, we feel more than excited for the trio’s album premiere ‘Anaphora‘ (meaning reference to that which preceded), one day ahead of its official release on the always eclectic Happy Robots Records.
All you have to do is sit back & relax for this exclusive first listen to the whole album, with track commentary from TDK from the band:
1. Pilomotor Reflex
This is our most overtly political track to date. We had the music finished just before the pandemic started and we were looking for some vocal content, especially something which reflected the historic nature of what was happening. Ironically, a poster poem written for the Paris student uprisings in 1968 fitted the bill perfectly. Although we already knew it, the pandemic created an unheralded social experiment and it confirmed, in the most extreme way, that the free market doesn’t produce fair outcomes and those at the top will always make a profit and always at the expense of the working classes. At the very same time when key workers were being “applauded” yet denied a wage increase, nearly 500 new billionaires were created. Smash Capital Now!
2. Squirrels Dancing Among Elephants
The title comes from a 2007 Michael Parenti book called “Contrary Notions” and again this was used to reflect what we were seeing around us in 2020. In his book, he refers to small businesses as ‘squirrels dancing among the elephants’ and this metaphor was used to suggest that small businesses have a very short life expectancy due to not being part of the wealth owning class. As we saw during the pandemic, small businesses were the first to go to the wall, often denied the kind of state support that was seen for the banks during the 2008 financial crisis; socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.
3. Tachistoscopic Interval
We are huge fans of the film ‘The Great Dictator’ and wrote this track to be used with samples of some of the speech given at the end of the movie (still frighteningly relevant today, over 80 years later). However, that speech really has been done to death, so we decided to build a track around the samples that we wanted to use and then take all of them out and this is the result.
This track was written right at the end of the sessions for our debut album ‘Exophora’ and is, perhaps, one of our more rockier tracks. It began as a collaboration between ourselves and the Dundee poet Andrew French, whose poem forms the central vocal motif of the track. Lyrically, it’s a not too distant precursor to the theme expressed on Pilomotor Reflex. Musically, it also contains a direct reference to one of our favourite Kraftwerk tracks.
The choice of title is twofold. First, it is a reference to the Harmonia track of the same (Harmonia being a big influence), and, second, it refers to Oliver Sacks’ work on music and the brain, which K’ko had been reading during the writing of the track. Musically, we wanted to create a track that was less structured and more fluid than the others and sonically sounded as if you were hearing it inside your head.
6. Happiness Fragment
This track is really a bridge between the first album and this one given that it is built around the same bassline as Deictics (track 2 on Exophora). Musically, it also draws a little more heavily on some of our influences, in particular Harmonia and Kraftwerk. The title and the vocal samples are taken from The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord. Very much like the poem we used in Pilomotor Reflex, it’s an incredibly prescient piece of writing from the 60’s.
The sound of Mood Taeg has been described as Neo-Krautrock, combining a contemporary take on the lange gerade drumming style of Klaus Dinger and Jaki Liebezeit with the melodic sensibilities and tones of Michael Rother and Kraftwerk. However, outside of their Krautrock roots, they also cite John Carpenter, Philip Glass, Mastermind Herbie, The Beach Boys, Isao Tomita, LFO, Roy Ayers, Ennio Morricone, and Airto Moreira as musical influences. Production-wise, they look to the work of Conny Plank, Greg Wilson, and Brian Eno for inspiration.
The band self-produce all of their music back and forth between their Shanghai and Düsseldorf studios and are part of the wider Mood Taeg Kollektiv which includes musicians, graffiti artists, DJs, photographers, painters, and video artists. They also maintain their Scottish connection through collaborations with artists such as Dundee poet Andrew French.
On this new album, Mood Taeg have built on their well-received debut, Exophora. And while some motorik elements remain, patterns generally eschew repetition and evolve organically within tracks. Emphasis has also moved on from the subtle vocal textures found on Exophora, to stronger, more prominent vocal elements featuring poets (Christopher Logue), cultural critics (Michael Parenti), film makers (Alan P. Chilchier), and trade union activists (Jimmy Reid), who reflect their political, social, and cultural views.
The debut album ‘Exophora’ received acclaim from the likes of Prog, Electronic Sound Magazine, The Dorf, The Electricity Club, Freq Joyzine and more with radio play on BBC Scotland and BBC 6 Music and you can read an interview we conducted with the band here.