Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg and friends were only in high school when they released 2010’s Avi Buffalo, …
By the time album opener “Palindrome” comes to a close, it’s clear that Glimpse of Future, the debut from Moongriffin, is going to be a lush and alchemistic affair. The languid, almost narcotic pace of the song and second track “Chase Wild Creeps” perfectly set the stage for the hazy and complex album to come. Positively teeming with wonderfully layered ideas and sounds, Glimpse of Future patiently unfurls its story over the course of 52 minutes and wastes nary a second, nor a sound. By the time the lush, rippling horns of “Separate Needles” come bubbling to the surface, the mood is akin to that of a bar scene in a sci-fi film noir where no one is to be trusted, especially the space dames.
I found myself painting that kind of weirdly vivid mental picture in my head each time I listened to Moongriffin’s (aka Elliot Ross) debut on local imprint Cartilage Osseux Records (the album is also the record company’s flagship release). Of the album’s many strengths, the ability to send the listener into another headspace is perhaps its greatest. Walls of sound meld together brilliantly with all the various bleeps and bloops Ross can come up with to create a sort of “psycho active jazz” state that’s almost trance like. Ross called the sound “future jazz” when we spoke, and that certainly rings true.
Another sticking point for me with this lovely record was that the aforementioned languid pace is almost never broken, despite the fact that the album has so many different sounds on it, I gave up trying to keep track after the first listen. The rare debut that sounds like a confident artist with an already solidified career, Glimpse of Future rewards repeat listens with a bevy of new ideas and sounds coming to fore each time, making the Moongriffin project one of Portland’s best new experimental acts. »
-Ed.’s Note: interestingly enough, artist Garrett Ross designed both the Glimpse of Future album cover and the ads and website for the Bridgetown Comedy Fest. Check out our coverage of the fest right here, and look for Ross’ work around town and on page 26 of this month’s magazine.