Rod Hamilton & Tiffany Seal – Moon Lush (2017)
Beginning as a remarkable online resource, promoting the neglected history of the New Age movement, in 2016 Sounds of the Dawn made the noble leap toward becoming a full blown record label. Given the nature of the site, it was easy to assume that the label would focus its energies in similar areas – on reissues of lesser known gems from decades past. Instead they took the hard path, forgoing the inbuilt audience and cache of historic works for contemporary efforts by young, largely unknown artists. Since their debut with Hybrid Palms’ Pacific Image, the imprint has issued a half dozen cassettes, each startling, singular explorations of the psychic potential of organized sound – reactivating a landscape of practice, once lost. While I have consistently championed their efforts, and loved every one of their releases, their most recent – Moon Lush, by the Baltimore based duo of Rod Hamilton and Tiffany Seal, has rapidly become an unquestionable favorite.
Hamilton and Seal issued a fantastic cassette on Ehse Records in 2016, and Hamilton has released a few equally notable solo efforts over the last few years. Beyond that, I know very little about the duo. While their previous release, Versatile Ambience, was largely focused on the construction of slow progressing dreamy ambience, Moon Lush encounters them shifting toward their focus toward hypnotic polyrhythm.
Long interpreted as the consequence of hippy self-indigence – a syrupy, inward movement responding to the loss of innocence and idealism which developed at the end of the 1960’s, New Age music’s role as a counter-cultural music, with deep connections to the avant-garde, has been almost universally overlooked. It is this crucial component, illuminated by the revaluation of the movement’s historical artists and works, with the rise of a new generations of practitioners, which appears with crystalline clarity through efforts like Sounds of the Dawn – as a blog as much as a label, and which is central to the sounds assembled across Moon Lush.