Alex Moulton — Creative

Music

 
 

These are some of my personal releases and collaborations from a lifetime of making music and traveling the world as a DJ and performer.

 

 
 
ExodusPoster-2000.jpg
 

EXODUS – LP

ROLE: Composer, Producer, Performer
MUSICIANS:
Daniel Correa, live drums
Roger Joseph Manning, Jr, keys ('Paradise')
José Luis Pardo, guitar ('Paradise')
Jonathan Maron, bass ('Meridians')
Alex Moulton, all other instruments
MIXER: Marc Urselli, East Side Sound, NYC
MASTERING: Nils Patel, The Exchange, London
ALBUM COVER ART: Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell
ART DIRECTOR & TYPOGRAPHY: Tatiana Arocha
 
 
Like Blade Runner rescored by Daft Punk, this retrofuture house masterwork has electric sheep fluffed out with the dustiest vintage synths and a cold replicant core aping the live drums on the dance records in Moulton’s late-’70s/early ’80s childhood.
— Paper Thin Walls
Exodus is nothing short of one of 2009’s top albums of the year! 4.5/5
— About.com

Early analog synthesizers were true to their name; they were designed to be electric replacements for acoustic instruments. It's this literal notion of "analog synthesis" that's always fascinated me, perhaps even more than the sonic qualities of analog synthesizers that attract most musicians. I am equally obsessed with early synthesizer records (now accepted as trendsetting proto-EDM) as with albums of un-cool synth arrangements of orchestral works. "Exodus" was born from this gray area, and lives happily on the fringes of good taste.

I also attribute much of my inspiration for "Exodus" to the fantasy movies of the '70s and '80s, which exist in the same questionable taste territory. While much electronic music draws reference from Science Fiction, the narrative of "Exodus" is more Fantasy-oriented. Its delayed oscillations and phasing lead lines are retro-futuristic, but I was also eager to incorporate live musicians and percussionists, and use African and Latin rhythms to reflect certain characters and plot points.

Many people continue to ask me about the narrative behind the songs. There is in fact a full storyline, which I may someday release in another form. But I think the music can inspire many other stories and characters than those that I imagined while composing, especially when if you listen to "Exodus" as a continuous album experience as it was intended. For now, the ridiculously awesome artwork by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell will have to suffice as a visual window into my imagined space opera. 

 
 
Sounds like a synth driven, Moroder-inspired disco album Daft Punk could have used to bridge Homework and Discovery.
— URB (feature article)
One of the most musically inspired albums of 2008.
— WeeklyDig
Moulton’s saturated productions (their influences mixing Vangelis and Moroder, equal parts Body & Soul and the Rex Club) seem best suited for the Paradise Garage dancefloor, as opening themes for Pink Floyd live at Pompeii, or the bumper music for infomercials selling seats to Fhloston Paradise. 7/10
— XLR8R
Exodus is everything a fake-movie soundtrack must be. It makes suggestions, not demands. It’s endlessly eclectic and inventive.
— Dusted
Moulton’s revisiting of synthy ‘80s glam pop and ‘70s disco is a treat. It’s like Cassius, if they had put out “1999” in 1979.
— CNET
All that’s missing from Alex Moulton’s epic debut is a movie.
— Time Out Chicago
Unleashed to a generation of music fans with attention spans shorter than a one-bar sample, I’m not sure how many people will “get” this record. Those who do will already have a few early Cerrone albums in their library, and Exodus will sit proudly along side them.
— PopMatters
Exodus is meant to let the listener lose themselves in a fantasy world of their choosing.
— Yahoo
Moulton uses Moogs and other hi-tech synthesizers such as the CS80 to generate lush, layered soundscapes that would probably work best as majestic soundtrack pieces to some suitably retro, sci-fi film.
— Comfort Comes
Liner Notes, July 2oo8
by Bill Murphy
We’re constantly being told we live in a hyper-accelerated, hyper-real age, where sound bites and short attention spans are the functional tools of survival. With entire record collections available online as boiled-down bit torrents—with virtually every song ever recorded, in fact, floating around in MP3 cyberspace just waiting to be grabbed—who the hell has any time to slow down and listen to a full-length concept album? Deeper still, who can find the time to make one?
Somehow, Alex Moulton did, even though he arguably logs more travel, face time and 12-hour work days than most high-profile foreign diplomats. As musician, producer, DJ, music video director and CEO of the Expansion Team media production company and record label, Moulton has squeezed several lifetimes of creative output into just the last ten years, and lately he shows no signs of easing off the gas. With the release of his sprawling solo debut Exodus, he conjures a retro-utopian vision of a happier time, when albums were real albums and music was presented not just as disembodied chunks of digital information, but as a full-on experience.
“Although I understand the reasons why, it makes me sad that the album format is breathing its last breath,” Moulton explains. “So just as the final nail is being driven into the coffin, I wanted to honor the tradition of the great epic concept albums of the late ’70s. It’s possible I may be among the last generation that spent hours listening to LPs, staring at gatefold covers and imagining the world that the music painted in my head, and that’s the experience I wanted to recreate with Exodus. I believe those moments turn someone into a real music lover—it doesn’t come from listening to singles.”
That might sound almost hopelessly nostalgic, but Exodus is much more than just a walk down memory lane. Although seasoned crate diggers will detect vintage ’70s influences as far-flung as Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Moroder, Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre and even Lipps Inc., Exodus moves beyond mere synth-pop prog-rock worship to embody a larger vision—one where the music becomes an all-enveloping narrative, inviting the listener into a gear-shifting, headphone-friendly mindtrip.
“I was trained as a filmmaker,” Moulton says, “so I always write music with a visual in mind. In this case I created a full-realized storyline—an epic sci-fi adventure that builds in a climactic arc with all the plot twists and turns. The songs are presented continuously like a DJ set, but they’re also like key scenes for a film. And even though I know what the characters are doing at every moment of each song, I’m hoping listeners will create their own story.”
For his part, Moulton serves as both conductor and funky time traveler, hurtling toward deep outta space (as the late great Billy Preston so elegantly put it) on a musical journey that’s by turns irreverent, groovacious and, at times, exuberantly cheesy. “I think electronic music often takes itself way too seriously,” he laments. “Everyone wants to be the coolest new DJ or whatever, but the electronic acts I love most aren’t afraid to let it all hang out, from Chromeo to Lemon Jelly to Daft Punk. Isn’t that what funky music is all about?”
The fun begins when Exodus initiates lift-off with “Overture,” a churning, gurgling orchestral piece that morphs into a Blade Runner-like soundscape just as Daniel Correa (from the Colombian fusion band Samurindo) crashes in on a duly echo-kissed drum kit. As he does throughout the album, Moulton taps into a litany of Moog, ARP 2600 and Yamaha CS80 synth patches for a lush and endlessly layered sound. It’s a richness of analog synthesis that recalls the best work of Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Can, Neu! or any of the coolest motorik groups you can name, but when tracks like the trunk-bumping “Out of Phase” or the whimsical trance rocker “Flaming Swords” bang into the mix, it becomes clear that Moulton is equally enamored of the latest in minimalist techno and the psychedelic rock resurgence—and much more.
With so many ideas to convey, Moulton couldn’t resist inviting a few other musicians and fellow travelers to the party. Along with Correa (who plays drums and percussion on over half of the 14 tracks), Groove Collective’s Jonathan Maron adds an envelope-soaked bass to the disco-funk workout “Meridians,” while José Luis Pardo (aka DJ Afro of Los Amigos Invisibles) drops some slinky guitar riffage on “Paradise”—which, by the way, surges into the sublime thanks to a murderous keyboard solo by Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (known for his stints with Beck and Air), who invokes Herbie Hancock and The Isley Brothers with some smoke to spare.
“All my inspirations get channeled through what feels right for the dancefloor,” Moulton says, citing the mixing acumen of two-time Grammy-winning engineer Marc Urselli and the mastering stroke of Nilesh Patel (of Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers fame), “so there are some modern elements to the music, and it’s mixed and mastered the way a record needs to be now. But again, it’s a total concept album. I wanted to make something like a Pink Floyd record, where you put it on and listen to the whole thing all the way through and it takes you on this journey. When I was a kid this is what I had imagined music would sound like at the dawn of the 21st Century.”
 

 

LOVE IS ALIVE — EP

ROLE: Producer, Performer, Vocals

Love Is Alive is my electro cover of Gary Wright's classic, included on the now out-of-print compilation "Souvenirs."

 
LoveIsAlive LARGE.jpg
 

 

DESCENT — 
FILM SCORE

DIRECTOR: Talia Lugacy
ROLE: Composer, Performer
 
Descent poster.jpg

The score for Descent came as a complete surprise and pushed me into darker musical territory.

I was asked to compose a dark dub-influenced track for a club scene in the film (heard in the featurette below). In the following weeks my conversations with the film's director, Talia Lugacy, and music supervisor Stephanie Diaz-Matos, led to working on additional scenes and soon I was the film's composer.

Thanks to Talia and Stephanie, the film has an incredible soundtrack and features some beautiful compositions from my friend Dustin O'Halloran, who I recommended they hire. My score complements the songs but is most evident during the violent and graphic sections of the film that created so much controversy when it was released.

The most challenging part of the process was channeling the mental state of the main character Maya (Rosario Dawson) which becomes increasingly dark over the course of the film. Like hearing voices in your head, the tones are felt more than heard. The visceral, raw, and dissonant textures were created with a mixture of bowed electric guitar, analog synthesis and sub-bass frequencies that are literally gut-wrenching in the theater. Since the film was rated NC-17, this wonderful scene (deleted from the final cut but included in the DVD features) is one of the few I can share.

 
 

 

SOUVENIRS — 
COMPILATION

ROLE: Executive Producer, A&R, Artist

Souvenirs is a compilation of modern covers of classic songs, newly recorded by my friends and musical collaborators. We released the compilation on my label Expansion Team Records. Although the label is now defunct and the album is out of print, it's still a project close to my heart.

 
 Souvenirs

Select Tracks

 

 

PLUS MOVE — 
2O99 EP

ROLE: Co-Producer

Plus Move was a project of Josh Shifrin and Paul Mihailoff, two incredibly talented electronic musicians from Boston. I was honored to help them co-produce and release their debut EP.

 
 Plus Move "2099"
 

 

SELECTED REMIXES

 
 
 Alex Moulton Collected Remixes