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£10.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 9 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Formed in San Francisco in 2009 by Wooden Shijps guitarist Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada, Moon Duo’s first two critically acclaimed EPs, Killing Time (2009) and Escape (2010), fused the futuristic pylon hum and transistor reverb of Suicide or Silver Apples with the heat-haze fuzz of American rock ‘n’ roll to create tracks of blistering, 12-cylinder space rock.

Their ... Read more in Amazon's Moon Duo Store

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for 7 albums, photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Circles + MAZES + Back To Land
Price For All Three: £30.81

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Souterrain Transmissions
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,355 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sleepwalker
2. I Can See
3. Circles
4. I Been Gone
5. Sparks
6. Dance Pt. 3
7. Free Action
8. Trails
9. Rolling Out

Product Description

Product Description


BBC Review

“Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.”

The above quotation is taken from an essay written in 1841 entitled ‘Circles’, wherein transcendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson considers the human experience at length, exploring the notion of ‘genius’ and mankind’s constant striving for greater knowledge, depth and understanding. It also serves as the inspiration for Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips) and Sanae Yamada’s second full-length as Moon Duo, which more or less picks up where last year’s Mazes left off.

Like that record, Circles sounds bright and confident, unafraid to revel in droning, repetitious figures and fuzzy vocals. These nine compositions grind, churn and propel themselves onward at a relatively unhurried pace, a gleaming pop sensibility revealing itself given time.

This is most evident on its title track, a flurry of garage-rock riffs, descending synth lines and freewheeling guitar solos. “The end is beginning,” sing the duo, not without a certain sense of glee. That all the songs adhere to the same blueprint matters little; Johnson is well versed in full-blooded, ranging psychedelia by means of Wooden Shjips. And while Circles heavily relies on pummelling repetition, he is not averse to opening up Moon Duo’s sound with a brace of splintering turns on the guitar.

It matters little… yet it does matter, a little. Like its predecessor, Circles offers little in the way of dynamics, and works off a very familiar template. Where Mazes’ opening track was entitled Seer, one or the more instantly engaging here is called I Can See. That they are very similar-sounding albums should come as no great surprise; these are the same musicians we are talking about, the same project.

Perhaps glossier and a touch more refined, Circles nevertheless stands up very well on its own terms, and complements its predecessor not in spite, but precisely because of their similarities.

--James Skinner

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Acker Bilk on 30 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Nice. Groovy. Happening. If you like fuzzy psych space rawk but also like to swing, this is for you! Yessssssssss
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gannon on 25 Oct. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If it weren't for the fact that Circles takes its name from an 1841 essay by transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson it'd have been as well to entitle it Loops. True we'd have then lost the telling allegory of Erik "Ripley" Johnson's exercises in repetition being code for organically approved order, but this otherwise open collection doesn't require such highbrow festooning to appeal when an erstwhile, almost self-mocking strain of frankness has been key to Johnson and his keyboard-wielding cohort Sanae Yamada's MO to date. Prior to this release, the Mazes LP predictably encoded a roundabout sense of dark-edged playfulness and before that the pair made their alter-ego Escape, leaving San Franciscan space-rock overlords Wooden Shjips for pastures differently named if not massively distinct.

Perhaps then a little less tunnel-visioned than Wooden Shjips, perhaps a touch more populist with occasional choruses, Moon Duo remains an extension of the pair's roots rather than a vacation and Circles a continuation of Mazes rather than a deviation. As such, and despite a couple of cuts like, for example, the summery psyche of the title track (which is probably the lightest loop-fest yet credited to the twosome - its spiralling synths and all), Circles is as comfortable an album as one so deeply mired in signature grind and fuzzed-out repeato-drone can be.

The locked-in groove of "Sleepwalker" is particularly ear-catching with a vaguely Eastern line of psyche and Johnson's stoned whisper bubbling through the bong smoke like a becloaked night-crawler disturbing a descending fog.
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By Richard Ridgewell on 19 Feb. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First class CD
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By sdsw12 on 20 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was bought as part of husband's Moon Duo/Wooden Shjips collection.
He played it once and we now have the box, but no cd - a mystery!
Will of course buy a replacement soon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Psych rock with a little more....pop? 3 Oct. 2012
By PuroShaggy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
All the essential elements of psych rock are here: fuzzed out guitars that drench the background with noise. Repetitive bass and drum parts that lay down a groove so thick it creates ruts in the ground. Muffled vocals that make understanding the lyrics near impossible. And finally, as is especially the case with any band featuring Erik Ripley Johnson, lengthy and memorable guitar solos that push each song to greater heights. What Moon Duo's latest release "Circles" gives the listener that pushes it into slightly more, shall we say friendly, territory is a series of bass riffs and dare I say hooks that engage and compel the listener almost immediately.
Opening track "Sleepwalker", as fuzzed filled as they come, verges on being danceable thanks to its upbeat rhythm section. "I Can See" conjures up images of go-go dancers and a dance hall with a colored liquid light show running in the background. "Dance Part 3" may have lifted the drum intro from the Rolling Stones "Harlem Shuffle" before heading off into deep guitar chugging territory. And album closer "Rolling Out" wraps things up with three plus minutes of squealing guitar soloing that is not too far removed from a Jefferson Airplane late '60s Fillmore freak out.
Simply put, this is one of the more accessible psych rock albums you will find. Without sacrificing their musical integrity or in any way capitulating on the amount of drone and noise they are willing to put out there, Moon Duo's latest gives the listener a complete psychedelic rock experience complete with catchy bass lines and a couple of memorable hooks. A must own for psych rock fans.
The Airplane flies again 24 April 2013
By Greg Keith - Published on
Verified Purchase
If Jefferson Airplane formed today and added some grunge, they might sound like this. Great sonic wall of sounds from San Francisco.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Motorik beats and pop fuzz 9 Dec. 2012
By J. Hubner - Published on
Format: Audio CD
If you're familiar with Erik "Ripley" Johnson's main band Wooden Shjips, then getting to know his side band Moon Duo will come very naturally. They occupy that same space as Wooden Shjips; kraut rock sensibilities, fuzzed-out garage rock spirit, and spacey, drone-fueled mantras that float along like the haze at a Brian Jonestown Massacre gig. If, on the other hand you're not familiar with Wooden Shjips, then sit back and enjoy the psychedelic ride Moon Duo are about to take you on.

Moon Duo consists of Erik "Ripley" Johnson and Sanae Yamada, and with the help of some isolation in the Colorado Rockies, their newest album Circles is both a testament to fuzzed-out psych pop and to Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay of the same name. Album opener `Sleepwalkers' has that Wooden Shjips guitar growl, but a great programmed drum beat. Shipley's delayed vocal moves along well with the catchy groove. It's menacing and inviting at the same time. `I Can See' is a driving, dark pop song. A great mix of synth noise, a bass line that propels the track and Shipley's vocals sounding like he's travelling through space and time with his magic hookah. Strangely en0ugh, I could totally hear The Cars doing this song back in 1979 for some reason. `Circles' sounds like Kurt Vile jamming with Wooden Shjips. Johnson has that sleepy quality to his voice that brings to mind Vile. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club comes to mind as well. Dark, psychedelic pop at its finest.

These are songs that could have very easily been digested by the Wooden Shjips collective, but would have somehow been less interesting. Johnson seems more upbeat on Moon Duo tracks. He's not hiding behind a wall of fuzz and drone. There's still plenty of both on Moon Duo tracks, but they're distilled and refined down to their essence. He follows a pop sensibility on these songs that at times is lacking on Wooden Shjips records. That's not to say there's something wrong with rambling and spaced-out jams. On the contrary, Wooden Shjips makes it look easy, when in fact it takes a great deal of panache and skill to pull off the kind of spacey noodling they do so well. Once in a while though, it's nice to get right to the point. Moon Duo do that in spades on Circles. A song like `Sparks' gets to the point. It has a great fuzzed-out guitar solo and a riff that ZZ Top would've gladly spat out of their Marshalls back in 1972. It's kinda sexy, kinda dark, and catchy as hell. `Rolling Out' is the last song and most reminiscent of Johnson's day job gig. At nearly 7 minutes it's a great way to end an already great album.

If you've been a fan of Wooden Shjips, then you will certainly be a fan of Moon Duo's Circles. If you're new to the fold, give Circles a listen. It's a trippy, psych-out, noise pop ride.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
top-of-the-heap psychedelic garage-drone rock with some bouncy beats 12 Oct. 2012
By Charlie Quaker - Published on
Format: Audio CD
3rd album from San Francisco duo featuring Erik Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips notoriety.
This is top-of-the-heap psychedelic garage-drone rock, where some brilliantly trippy lead guitar
over repetitive keyboard Krautrocking rhythms creates a smoky, hypnotic rock atmosphere
peppered with poppy beats, and the mystery of why ghosts might be dancing in hazy opium
dens. The occasional energy of post-punk/Stoner rock furnishes a vibrant, semi-heavy aura that
is adeptly tempered by the perpetual loping accessibility of the beat and Johnson's beautifully
twisted, Eastern-tinged, mesmerizing guitar. There is a strange combination of influences at
work here. The guitar work (not the album, in general) recalls Jimi Hendrix, Mick Hutchinson
(Clark-Hutchinson Band), Tom Verlaine (Television), Terry Swope (JPT Scare Band), John
Cippolina (Quicksilver Messenger Service). The rhythms sometimes recall Neu, B-52s, Velvet
Underground. Overall, the band sounds like a combination of the Black Angels, the Cramps,
Suicide, Disappears & Audionom that often comes out better than the individual components.
This is simply a great album, built on the juxtaposition of comfortable, repetitive simplicity and
some stunning lead guitar work that rocks! (Note: This is essentially the same review that I
wrote for their 2011 album "Mazes". "Circles" hasn't had a chance to grow with me yet, but so
far it feels very similar, if a bit more of a straightforward "rock" album.)
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A big Plus 24 Mar. 2014
By gregory helentjaris - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great music for a revisit to psych rock with a clear sound. It's a nice change from the imitation stuff heard on the radio. It's not for everyone especially the folks who like country
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