What happens when Elliott Smith’s love of harmony combines with Tropicalismo’s delight for sonic madness and then appears in the mystical twilight of Twin Peaks? You get the best-kept secret in the German indie scene: Fabian Simon & The Moon Machine.
The quartet, formed around jack-of-all-trades leader Fabian Simon, wryly refers to its style as “utopian Kraut-Folk”, and that’s exactly how it sounds: like a wild mélange of 60s psychedelia and classical chamber music, with songwriting from Nick Drake to Syd Barrett. Spacey synths juggle with desert guitars while Hammond organs meet rumbling surf drums and ask for a tipsy waltz. It’s sensitive, funny, poetic and always surprising.
This enigmatic mixture is carried by Fabian Simon’s baritone voice, sometimes fragile in timbre, sometimes deep with impulsive emotion in painting beautiful crooked pictures of love, death and the absurd in-between. Live, the band’s latticework arrangements, extraordinary sounds and a noticeable joy in musical experimentation make for a touching, anarchic and essential experience.
»Nothing is as quiet as the helpless cry of the blue beetle // in the woods the trees talk to each other // and the mushrooms like a library know everything // if only I could step behind the curtain and see the world of green // if only I could wake up to a Coconut Dream«