Sunday, May 18, 2008
Moolah, WOE YE DEMONS POSSESSED
Druidstone, 1974; reissued (grey-area) by several labels; several dubious versions available, official reissue possible
6 tracks, 37:25
Moolah, the mysterious recording alias of Walter Burns and Maurice Roberson, has always been an enigma. Released on the duo's incredibly-named Druidstone in 1974, WOE YE DEMONS POSSESSED (also referenced as WOE YE DEMON POSSESSED, and with or without a comma after the WOE)is quite simply not something that should have been coming out of mid-70s New York. Just looking at the cover should tell you this is going to be an amazing listen! This absolute mindblower was allegedly recorded in a basement. While exact instrumentation isn't clear, the arsenal appears to be similar to Kluster's: keyboards (sounds like mostly organs and electric pianos), tape decks, effects, and other noisemakers, plus the addition of a rather loud drum kit. The drums aren't in every song, but on tracks like the opening "Crystal Waters", they offer a nice crashing backbeat to some cosmic keyboards and psychedelic trickery. "Mirror's" seems to be built upon a strange backwards tape loop, with some forward-playing organ improvised on top. Various guitar strums are also heard, but it's not clear if these are real-time or reversed, so dense is the production. "Terror Is Real" features some insane ramblings, proving the American origins and adding to the general ambience. All six tracks offer diverse joys, and the whole album ends much sooner than you wish. An amazing American take on krautrock, this does beg the question: Were Walter and Maurice aware of Kluster et al, or was this coincidentally similar to what was going on in Germany? Whatever the case may be, Moolah is a true treasure. Hopefully the official reissue will happen; a message made the rounds saying the reissue was in the works, bonus tracks and all, but the bootleggers affected that. I say reissue it, because I want to hear the bonus material!
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that Walter and Maurice released a second album in 1983. It was credited to Burns & Roberson or possibly Burns & Roberson Cosmic Music, but it's not clear from the cover if this is part of their name or the album's name. It seems to be called ALBUM II: SYNTHI-ACOUSTIC. I have seen a copy of this on cassette on ebay, but there is literally NO other information available on it. Any leads would be appreciated!