by Eryn Brothers
Long Night, the latest release from Jordan Moser, is an accomplished testament to the art of listening. Part hyggelig live performance (every track was recorded live, minus pedal steel), part obscure folk record found in a dollar bin, and part listening to your friend sing on a front porch, Long Night is an intimate and textured palette that succeeds due to Moser’s canny musical ear, and also to the observative eye of engineer Eric Whittans at Homestead Recording in Fayetteville, AR.
Moser has made practice of his own multimedia background to cull grit and gravitas. In “Between the Stars,” we experience opposing arpeggiations of acoustic guitar, almost at odds with the drums. When they finally meet up, organ sly in the background, there’s a purposeful, dance like quality to the result. For Moser to nod at his ballet career musically is extremely compelling. It works elegantly.
There is a certain aspect of “let the space speak,” on Long Night. The song’s voice changes their habitat’s condition. You could be in a house in the woods, listening to the stillness surrounding you ala pedal steel and echoing orchestration in “The Road To Trouble,” which features Molly Burch. You could be in a car going nowhere, harmonies and secretly chugging drums guiding you in “Love is Gonna Test You.” You could be playing guitar late with your friends, listening to them with a bottle of whisky. “How Long,” offers those sweetly lackadaisical strums, light percussion, and delicate background vocals.
On top of all this incredible arrangement and sound scape, Moser pulls you in not only with his pleasantly cracking voice, but his astute lyrical capability. “You can’t see tomorrow/Through this blinding present vision/Sober truths just get you mad,” is one gut knocker. Many times while listening, I would pop up from whatever I was doing and proclaim, “Shi-ut,” the swear unremarkable against Moser’s wise, textured poetry. “You had the truth/But you don’t know where you put it/Inside that crowded mind,” made me drop a glass the other day. I’d be jealous if I didn’t love this album so much.
The most fascinating thing about this record is that no matter the song, the aura of night emanates. Whittans translated Moser perfectly here. In tracks like “Down With Me,” arching yet restricted harmonies mingle with pedal steel and engage with the silence around the band. You can almost hear the imaginary canyon Moser and Burch are standing in. In “The Devil,” it’s as if Moser is standing right next to you, articulate and vulnerable in your ear.
To create a sound that interacts with silence is masterful listening. Jordan Moser, with his thirty minute Long Night, proves that space, time, reflection, and listening make one hell of a record.
Eryn Brothers is a poet, writer, musician, and all around jerk of all trades. A high school dropout who never graduated from Possum College, Eryn has published comics, essays, and poetry with Venison Mag, LIFE RAFT ZINE, RAWPAW, and the up and coming BIBLE BELT QUEERS. She also is currently working on her own sad bastard indie country that eventually will be public. Eryn can be found idolizing Nick Cave at your local bar and singing Robyn loudly from her bike. Follow heron Spotify for a dose of weird on her friday playlists. They’re a hoot and half a holler. (Which is, surprisingly, how tall she is.) Follow her at @regaldebbie on IG for righteous memes, musical opinions, and weak attempts at yodeling.