Lunar Dunes – Feb 21 2009

Last night I went to see my friend Ian’s band Lunar Dunes at their home from home at the Inn on the Green under the Westway, off Ladbroke Grove. So I duly spent an hour on the Central Line and got their just at the right time.

The Dunes play a kind of krauty-jazzy-psychedelic-rock with added loops and etherial vocals. The singer, Krupa, and drummer Hami both play in the Dunes whilst moonlighting from Tranglobal Underground. It’s a bit wierd seeing the drummer I would go and see in front of 1000s of people at Megadog playing in this little club. But it’s also very cool.
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Before Lunar Dunes played there was a set from harpist Julia Thornton. Her enchanting tunes came into their own towards the end of her set when she began to use her loop pedal and built up musical and percussive sounds. About half way through the set I realised I was being reminded of the kind of stuff I used to listen to on Jet FM. This was a radio station that broadcast in Nantes and played a wide mixture of experimental music. Most of my friends though everything they played was pretentious rubbish, but I can happily listen to half an hour of a man hitting a glass with a spoon…

After Julia’s set there was a short break before the arrival of Lunar Dunes. They would be playing two sets and, more importantly, recording everything for a future live album. This meant lots of new music, which is never a bad thing. The Dunes sound has being slowly evolving since I first saw them, Ian’s fretless bass lends and interesting sound, without getting too jazzy, a lot of the tunes are underpinned by loops, but it’s a combination of Ian’s bass and Hami’s driving drums that really hold the sound together. Exactly how it should be…

Krupa’ vocals sometimes drift etherially over the music and other times yelps and oohs and ahs are almost percussive. Krupa has alsomaking much more use of the Kaos Pad, to make unusual sounds and, I think, process the vocals. Adam, the guitarist, is one of those players who knows when not to play as well as when to play, which is perfect for this music, although I did love it on the occassions he let rip with a proper rock solo! Which just leaves Larry who generates the aforementioned loops and plays a saxaphone that breaks my preconceptions by not being annoying.

For the second set they were joined by Julia on the harp. There was much more spacy meandering in this set, I wished I hadn’t had to keep checking the time for my train and could have got more lost in it. At one point Ian produced an almost Doorsy bassline that drove everyone else’s improvisations along.
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These nights are always great and I would urge anyone who likes something a bit more ‘out there’ than the usual fayre, something that reaches for a new place without being mindfully awkward, they should check out Lunar Dunes and their irregular Club Dune nights.

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