Moon And Bike take the scenic route on their cinematic post-rock single Mythago — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Taken from the Portland instrumental trio’s upcoming album Brave State, the mystical Mythago is inspired by the 1980s novel Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. The composition centers around eerie acoustic guitar arpeggios, and incorporates a sense of story into its arrangement. The verses feature ever-changing melodic phrasing and electric guitar textures to create a feeling of plot development, and the chorus reverts to a familiar song structure with a heavy, recognizable repeated phrase.
“I was re-reading Mythago Wood, and I’ve always loved the story’s dark mysteriousness, which depicts characters intently exploring as they travel through a mythical forest,” says Boone Johnson. “We were hoping to echo this with writing that inspires a feeling of searching and discovering as the song progresses,” Boone notes.
Boone Johnson and Michael Swanson met while doing trail work in Eugene, Oregon. The two quickly bonded over music, realizing they were both guitarists, and proceeded to write their first song together shortly after. The song was called Moon And Bike — a play on their names. Some 25 years and a variety of musical projects later, the duo created the guitar-focused instrumental project that was named after that first musical collaboration.
Moon And Bike are now preparing to release their second album, Brave State. The 10-song collection represents a leap in the project’s sound, evolving from a duo to a trio. The addition of drummer John Gannon helps Boone and Michael explore their rock influences, adding the energy and dynamic of working with a top-notch percussionist. Brave State was co-produced by Moon And Bike and engineer/producer Dylan Magierek of Badman Records (My Morning Jacket, Innocence Mission). It was mixed by John Morgan Askew (Neko Case, M. Ward).
The album title references the bravery we all have to muster in the face of our daily struggles and the current state of our world. In another way, it also speaks to Moon And Bike fearlessly moving forward with their adventurous sound. Their hard-to-classify, guitar-based soundscapes exude a powerful, distinct self-possession. “We envision our music as engaging and accessible, yet it’s something that doesn’t easily fit into the current set of musical genres,” Boone says, “We feel like we’re traveling down a fresh path, creating a new sound on our own terms.”
Moon and Bike’s aesthetic features strong melodies and expressive chord changes. The song arrangements are informed by pop, but, at times, cleverly wander into post-rock, fusion, and ambient territory with mellow and moody passages morphing to frenetic ones. The band’s productions are lush, drawing from their diverse musical backgrounds and experience scoring original music for film and other media. The tracks are layered with the interplay of acoustic and electric guitars, strong rhythmic elements, and atmospheric, electronic textures. Moon And Bike have been compared to Explosions In The Sky, North Americans and Marisa Anderson and William Tyler.