John Moods LP - The Great Design
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John Moods - The Great Design
John Moods is back with his third album “The Great Design”, a title referring to the wonder and amazement one can feel when faced with the mysterious intelligence and design of life.
Before stepping out as a solo artist, Moods co-founded the art pop band Fenster, releasing four records and a feature film. His debut solo album “The Essential John Moods” was released in 2018, recorded on a hike across Spain and Portugal after some major life-changing spiritual events. His last record “So Sweet So Nice” – a playful and joyful take on the subject of mortality – was released as two EPs in 2021.
His work has shown impressive creative versatility, staying true to his unique brand of romantic and spiritual outsider pop, reminiscent of 80s yacht rock and leaning towards the melancholic and thoughtful.
His third record, “The Great Design” highlights some recognisable traits, while taking them further into the contemporary pop realm. The album evokes a certain 1980s mood (“the decade that I was born into and can't help but love for its colorful sounds and aesthetics”) but lands sweetly in the present . Together with the French producer ET, with whom he previously collaborated on Fenster’s 2015 album “Emocean”, and who regularly produces Fenster’s other founding member and multimedia artist “Discovery Zone”, John Moods created a warm soundscape for “The Great Design” invoking the past without getting lost in nostalgia.
This album also has its eyes set firmly on our present and future. Nowhere is this more beautifully executed than in its first single “It Ain’t Your Time“, a meditation on the passage of time, simultaneously mourning and celebrating its cryptic ways. “Maybe changing is the same as dying / Maybe living is the same as flying”, John Moods sings, accompanied by home video clips from his youth growing up between Poland and Germany. “It’s a very personal one”, he explains, “yet at the same time it manages to capture the universal truth and beauty of time and its passing.”
The album’s opener “Anyone” , channels more 80s and exotica sounds, a spherical entry to the dreamy world that John Moods creates so well. He ponders the question: “Where does hope come from when the world goes dark?” and explains: “It’s about not giving up, not letting cynicism prevail.”
The second song “Atlantic Station” is an immediate stunner, with an irresistible synth line, flutes, claps, and a lead vocal modulating from angelic purity into a Manilow-esque growl, “This one may be the weirdest disco tune of all time”, Moods explains. “I saw a man in the subway station 'Atlantic Station' in New York in 2012, playing a cover of the classic country song 'Cool Water' on a small Casio keyboard, and to me there was something so pure and moving about it, it feels as if it’s been etched into my brain ever since.” Ten years later, he found his recording of this touching moment and built a song around it.
Collaboration and community is at the heart of “The Great Design”. On “Such A Thrill”, Moods explains: “This song literally takes off into space! It’s a wild poetic rant about design, relativity and the madness of time and space”, he laughs, “the lyrics were written in collaboration with Neil Goodwin, an Irish philosopher, life artist, mostly sane professional madman and amazing friend – he is one of the most interesting people I have ever known.” Other collaborators include JJ Weihl, who made the video and co-wrote the lyrics for “It Ain’t Your Time”, and Martha Rose who played the flute on almost all of the tracks. Magnus Bang-Olsen played keys on “One Morning” and wrote the string arrangements for “The Great Design”, played by Noga Sarai Bruckstein and Moritz Brümmer, in tribute to the almost weightless quality of classics such as Simon & Garfunkel or John C. Frank. The title track is an ode to the feeling of transience that has inspired so many artists since the beginning of time, seamlessly flowing into the instrumental “Just Playing”, a jazzy electronic experiment based on geometry and patterns. “I’m interested in making music I’m not completely at home in”, Moods says.
Initially, “The Great Design” was nothing more than a loose collection of songs, written while not being able to tour and continuing the lifestyle of constant creation that John Moods had grown accustomed to in a career spanning over a decade. Over time, the fragments came together, and entered into conversation with each other. “At the time when I first put these ideas together, it seemed like pure madness”, John Moods remembers, “but now the eight songs have almost become inseparable from each other, molded into this album, which seems more deliberate than I ever thought it could be.”
THE GREAT DESIGN will be released on 11.11.2022 through Mansions and Millions.