Exploring The Electro Global Urban Jungle With MOÜGLI MOÜGLI's SXSW Set at the Speakeasy Was Eye Opening.
AUSTIN, TX- Given my personal bias in favor of full bands and the analog, if you show up with just two dudes doing synth, you better come correct and you best come hard. Samuel Lizarralde and Juan Pablo Delgado did just that. Absent any extra sensory perception, there is no way that the Colombian duo could have known of or given even a remote shit about the challenge posed by my internal monologue – and yet – they responded proportionately.
These guys are good.
They make some subtle but very sophisticated decisions with the equipment that they bring to a live show. They are a tandem DJ force but integrate live guitar and percussion into the composition. It’s an austere sound that quickly gains depth as they add layers in and take them out. Dance beats. Sounds of water. Wind. Birds. Animals. Echoes. It all played well to the midsized club crowd at Austin’s Speakeasy. Well enough that I would love to see them in a bigger venue, or even better on a beach. Or in a forest.
Their sound channels that kind of …freedom. There is the feeling of a voice that whispers something you’re not sure you understand while a beat compels you to move without knowing why. As sounds loop, the smooth delicate rhythms give the repetition a rudder. A movement. An identity. It’s whimsical but fun. The synth is balanced almost mathematically with live guitar and percussion. The vines and macrame that adorn the microphone stands and stage offer a knowing or unknowing nod to the contrapunto of digital and analog that drives their sound. When the Lizarralde steps away from the board to unleash on percussion, the the dude hustles. Makes it all so much more legit.
And Delgado with his not so delgado mustache does something I really appreciate when he sings. He smiles. It’s a small but important point. Generation laptop can get lost in whatever the hell it is they do on their screen. It’s so important to establish, maintain, and BUILD the relationship with the public. A small gesture – like a smile – there’s something irrefutably endearing about that. Sometimes that’s all it takes. What makes good great?
At a certain level of talent, it’s the intangibles. That’s what has me so excited to see MOÜGLI again. All the things you can point to and define but also, the elusive and ambiguous qualities that you can’t quite put your finger on. Sam and JP got it. And I expect they will continue to bring it. Their demonstrated passion, their creative curiosity, their raw ability. I think they’re going to grow. No plateau. Move forward. From jungle beat floor to jungle canopy. Move up. Hope to see them stateside again, y pronto…but if I had to fly south to Colombia to catch them on their home turf…that could be journey worth the effort.