All This Glitter Is Gold
What a venue! Whomever did the booking for New Yorker Elliot Moss’ London stop-over this weekend has a strand of genius threading through their musical DNA. I’ve never been to the Moth Club situated in the Old Trades Hall up Hackney ways before, so it was with sheer bejazzled delight, after negotiating the very friendly octogenarian gauntlet of the workers club next door that we stepped into a hall, it’s floor plan an old parochial church hall (with a small non church approved bar at the end) but looks like it has just had it’s interior Gok Wanned by a camp bingo night host, who has just returned from an annual holiday in a Dubai disco. Effectively it could have inspired the huge ABC hit, there is Gold EVERYWHERE!
It looks amazing though, a fabulous blend of yesteryear community centre and timeless kitsch, it feels like, and makes everything look like a movie set. A very suitable setting indeed to display the ever broadening depths of the 22 year old musician Moss, whose blend of digital soul, heartache and cinematic beats could potentially become the soundtrack to a great deal of folk around the iworld. The range of his music would be wrongly construed as narrow in that the gentle digital filtered slow groove that permeates his tracks on album or on video (watched, heard and loved by millions), but it has to remembered that he created his 2014 debut album Highspeeds pretty much on his own. That’s like having the same brain waves as social network friendly Prince.
But any apparent simplicity in the elements of the tracks are brought to fulfilment with the addition of guitar, bass and live drums in the live act. With the additional band members the tracks are allowed to glide from a gentle summers breeze ‘Highspeeds’ to a full on gale of techno rave emotions ‘Best Light’, and of course not forgetting the sublime hit that is ‘Slip’, which has nearly every girl in the crowd instantly dropping conversations, phones, self control and running forward to dive into it’s deep loving embrace. There’s dark beats in the song, but eyes glow brightly on the dancefloor.
Having the band allows to increase the sound too, making everything fuller, richer emotive resonance, and allows for a more expansive inclusive range of influence rather than going down an potential repetitive sample loop of success. ‘Slip’ is a fantastic song in isolation (there’s a stunning video with contemporary dancers Phillip Chbeeb and Renee Kester on Elliot’s site too), but folk would quickly tire of just repeated slight variants. There’s wonderful hints of Pink Floyd, Radiohead/Thom Yorke, James Blake, Jamie XX glinting through the sounds like the flashes of gold in the venue ceiling, but Elliot also told us that he’s influenced by David Byrne (David has played Elliot’s music on his radio show) and Gorillas, both huge bastions of all things in global music awareness. These are mighty fine influences indeed, and not forgetting his musical parents too.
In a non disparaging way, there’s a Benjamin Button-esque quality to Elliot’s music and live show. It takes confidence to strip a song down to the barest elements, concentrating the formula, intensifying the flavour without it going bitter. He intuitively has the emotive control and story telling of someone well beyond his years, but where as this could easily become arrogance, he doesn’t let that happen. And to a generation who I think may just end up watching gigs live stream onto their phones, while standing in front of the act itself, he makes them forget their phones and dance with their hands in the air. For that alone, he may be their saviour.
You can find out about current the European tour dates and stream Highspeeds at elliotmoss.com
Pic by DeShaun Craddock