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  • Bryon Harris

Frederick Moore - 'Dark Moon'

Review by Sylvie Marie & Staff

Frederick Moore survived a declining factory town and a Catholic school upbringing before his life in music began. By the age of seventeen, he was ready to move on. Through gigging, singing, songwriting, and playing bass, he moved out as quickly as he could manage, got married, and bought tickets for a 78-hour Greyhound ride to LA. In LA, Moore received regular exposure through concert venues and on local radio (mostly KPFK, KCSN, and KXLU). As he developed as a composer, he started pushing the electronic envelope with atonal chamber and orchestral composition. Today, he has a Masters degree, teaches literature, and continues to release albums. American Pentimento is his tenth album. Off the album, "Dark Moon," is a great way to get acquainted with Moore's engaging compositional songs.

Commencing with haunting, deep arpeggios on the piano accompanied by a whirling ambience that gushing towards you like the blowing wind, "Dark Moon" is instantly mesmerizing. The dynamics grow to an almost pounding intensity, before the track settles allowing space for Moore's vocal entrance, "His words are to fathom / He seeks a kind of dark perfection / He roots for the random / Right or wrong, weak or strong / He hints at salvation." During this section, the track is sparse with organ chords and Moore's vocals are subdued.

After the verse, the music blooms into psychedelic rock with light percussion, and the melodic, legato chorus is heard for the first time.

“Say ‘yes’ and I will happen to you,

Under a Dark Moon

And we’ll wail away on some dive-bar stage.

In a dark room,

We’ll find a splintered haze and a spark."

"Dark Moon" is very well-conceived with vivid characters and story telling. A woman "works random laughter, like hot wine that sparks inside her. She finds her own way" and a man who "works for an insulation outfit where dozens of times per hour and hundreds of times per evening he calls the owners of homes, half-hoping that they won’t pick up." With musical word painting, the woman's story is melodic and flowing. While telling the tale of the young man, the music is woven with intricate and complex textures and patterns, and the lyrics are more spoken.

As the music and the story continue, the monologue reveals a desire for freedom from the status quo. "A little more space to set up his drums, a little more free time, maybe a little less self-loathing, but this is it." Adding more and more texture, "Dark Moon" feels like a rock opera. The song ends on the chorus with an uplifting message. There is hope. "We'll find our own way." A light percussion taps it's way out with Moore singing a pensive vocalese.

"Dark Moon" is a masterpiece of music, poetry and storytelling. Like a sophisticated rock opera, "Dark Moon" presents melodic song elements along with intricate and complex compositional layers. Combining song lyrics, monologue, poetry and creative word painting, the song's message is heard, imagined, and felt. "Dark Moon" stays with you long after you've heard it, musically and visually.

For more information on Frederick Moore, please visit his website.

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