The Soft Moon

‘Criminal’ , The Soft Moon's fourth studio album, released by Sacred bones on Febuary 2nd 2018, is a confessional work. Through the stark lens of shame and guilt that has followed Luis Vasquez since a violent childhood growing up within the humming ambient sprawl of 80s Mojave Desert, here he documents the gut-wrenching sound of going to war with himself. Battling with his own sanity, self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement and grappling with the risk of these things transforming him into a person he despises, Vasquez has laid his feelings bare with this: his confession and most self-reflective work to date.

“ Guilt is my biggest demon and has been following me since childhood. Everything I do strengthens the narrative that I am guilty” Vasquez reflects. “The concept of ‘Criminal’ is a desperate attempt to find relief by both confessing to my wrongdoings and by blaming others for their wrongdoings that have affected me.”

‘Criminal’ marks a striking and important chapter in his self-exploration, both artistically and emotionally. As a young musician living in Oakland, Vasquez began to try and process the narrative of his difficult upbringing veiled through musical exploration. Taking krautrock's motorik beats and Post-Punk deconstructions and honing them into a hushed percussive incantation, The Soft Moon's self-titled debut album took shape. The album was released in late 2010 by Captured Tracks and was praised by critics and emulated by contemporaries.

In 2012 the apocalyptic conceptual work of Zeros emerged, shortly followed by Vasquez moving to Venice, Italy in 2013, acting as a catalyst for 2014’s release, Deeper . While previous albums were primarily instrumental records, where Vasquez’s voice was diffused amidst the music as another instrument, Deeper marked the beginning of a new musical direction where vocals and lyrics became something more than a mere presence. Deeper was a descent into the womb of childhood trauma, anxiety and fear, and although Vasquez survived this dark exploration of himself, he did not return alone.

Working once more with Maurizio Baggio, who produced Deeper , at La Distilleria in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy, ‘Criminal’ sees Vasquez further explore putting his lyrics at the forefront and letting his raw emotions flow. The album begins with a confrontation with his true self through the torrid bass lines and searing vocals of “Burn” ; a song evoking a loss of control akin to demonic possession, stating: "Eyes, reflecting the person that I am, and it burns" . In this track Vasquez's guilt bores deeper and deeper into a condemnation that ultimately is: "Fire, hell is where I'll go to live, so I burn”.

“Burn” is followed by the caustic bass, mechanized rhythms, and numbing emulsions of “Choke,” a song about the amplifying and anesthetizing effect of cocaine, a drug whose darker side Vasquez is not unfamiliar with. The next track “Give Something” is a subterranean love song from the deepest depths, with harrowingly despondent lyrics, seeking hope in a sea of shame.

The album continues its thematic inner conflict in the Industrial/EBM percussion and distorted high attack bass of “Like a Father”, a song reflecting Vasquez's anger towards the father that abandoned him. “ This head is a problem/You're the ghost of my problem/Something's got t o give ” pleads Vasquez as revving guitars invoke chainsaws before the song’s final lines search for closure: to kill the father within himself.

The album closes with title track “Criminal” ; a despondent resignation to guilt; bereft, broken, and bruised, with lyrics that confess: “It's the way I cross the line, it's the way I open, it's the way to my decline, it's the way I'm broken”. The song, like the album itself, is Vasquez's way of holding himself accountable and seeking redemption for the abuse he inflicts on himself, and acknowledges roots in the abuse which, inflicted upon him as a child, broke him.

On Nov 2nd 2018, Sacred Bones , in collaboration with Berlin-based label a ufnahmeundwiedergab e, will release ‘Criminal Remixed’ on vinyl as two MAXI 12”s and as a digital album. The release will include remixes by the following artists: Imperial Black Unit (France), Sarin (Canada), Lokier (Mexico), SHXCXCHCXSH (Sweden), Ansome (UK), Craow (USA), Rendered (Germany/France) & The Horrorist (USA)

HIDE

Void Vision is a Philadelphia-based electronic project helmed by Shari Vari.
It began around 2009 at a time when a wave of synth-revivalists were materializing, but the quality of the songwriting and intense vocals set the band apart from the pack.
In a rare instance, Void Vision has managed to combine vintage dance elements with melodic structures, haunting melancholy, and lyrics that have a palpable soul.
The songs themselves are dynamic, referencing a cross-section of the last 30 years of electronic music, while simultaneously retaining a uniqueness all their own.

The infamous Wierd Records weekly club night in New York, which showcased a variety of talented electronic and coldwave artists, served as an incubator for Void Vision in it’s early stages.
After a standout debut performance at the club, they immediately caught the attention of Blind Prophet Records, who consequently released their first 7″ single, ‘In 20 Years’, which received excellent reviews.

Vari has continued performing and recording steadily over the last few years, releasing songs on compilations for various labels, including Rough Trade, and in 2012 the song ‘Everything is Fine’ was selected for Artforum magazine’s ‘Best of 2012′ issue. In 2013, Void Vision toured the West Coast and later that year released a split 12″ with Portland-based band, Vice Device.
The first official full-length album, entitled ‘Sub Rosa’ is set to debut on Berlin-based Mannequin Records, followed by a European tour in 2015.

Shari Vari formed Void Vision in 2009 originally as a duo, during the explosion of the new minimal synth and cold wave scene in United States.
Sharing the same scene of the Wierd Records associates like Led Er Est, Martial Canterel, Xeno & Oaklander, Automelodi, in 2010 VV released ‘In Twenty Years’ on Blind Prophet (Sean Ragon’s Cult Of Youth record label), receiving also the attention of the Rough Trade dudes, who asked to put out a track for one of their synth wave compilations.
After other split vinyls, tapes and compilations, Mannequin approached Shari with the intention to continue what Wierd Records started, giving a proper shape to her beautiful and youthful dark electronic sound. The result is 10 hypnotic cold analog tracks dominated by the warm and fragile Shari’s voice, some more “pop orientated” some others belonging to the original “cold wave” atmosphere.

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