As much as the American self-help market loves to see everyone have widely aspiration goals, the very nature of goals, or ‘ambition’ as we will refer to the term here, can become very problematic. How motivational can it be when the thing you aspire towards is so far removed from your reality that it feels impossible to achieve? Furthermore, if you’re an artist with huge ambitions, but very little resource, how exactly do you bring your concept to life? Should you limit your ambitions so that they are easier to achieve?
Edinburgh duo Man of Moon have lofty ambitions. Others have loft ambitions for them (the duo’s debut single ‘The Road’ was lauded by the New York Times as “the best debut single from a UK band since ‘Ceremony’). In particular the duo have lofty ambitions for their live show, and its attempt to create a multimedia show that rivals the immersive-ness of Nine Inch Nails at their best, or Death In Vegas at their most abstract. Yet how exactly can an under resourced electronic act match the complexity of a large, resource-rich, rival?
Well, as the Moon Men proved, you do two things; you make the sound production of your show lo-fi thereby minimising the importance placed on recreating the precision of your recorded work, and you direct your performance so that the physical playing of your instruments becomes one of the principal visuals for your audience.
Centred around tracks from most recent release ‘Chemicals’, including the wonderful ‘Skin’, Man of Moon deliberately focus their show on searching for New Order styled electronic moments and deep heavy industrial parts of Nine Inch Nails. Focused around a basic, but highly impactful visual setting (a simple white sheet used onto which is projected dark menacing images) and driven by strong physical performances (led by a ferocious style of playing by drummer Michael Reid, and an attack heavy delivery by guitarist/vocalist Chris Bainbridge) Man of Moon produce a show which just about manages to match their lofty ambitions of bombarding their audience and turning their show into a full performance. It’s a hell of a feat given the resources at their disposal.
Cinematic, intense, and visually stimulating the resulting Man of Moon show becomes not merely a presentation of songs, but a complete immersive experience designed to contextualise their work including . standout tracks ‘Black snow’ and ‘Ride the waves’, as well as new weapon of mass destruction ‘Rust’. Dark, yet accessible, the show is outstanding; droney in parts, gothic in others, yet always intense and attempting to pound the audience into submission. Owing as much to their production as well as to their superb catalogue of songs this is a show that aims high and achieves fine results.
The next time someone tells you not to have big ambitions, look this duo up.