Love Letter To A Record: Harmony’s Amanda Roff On ‘Moon Rituals’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Amanda Roff, Harmony – Moon Rituals’ Moon Rituals

Moon tunes. Lunar music. Night fly. Night flights. Why do synthesizers make me so emotional? I suppose space is a very lonely place and being in love with a hologram sux. I regularly watch videos of humanoid robots trying to do basic domestic tasks. If they smash an egg or bump into a wall and fall over I start crying. Because I love them. I love it when they can’t do life. I’m a Cancerian with a Cancerian moon. Double moon unit. Space cadet.

I mostly associate Sarah Hardiman with guitars. Loud upside-down ones. When I first heard Moon Rituals, it was as if, after watching Motor Vehicle Sundown at The Arthouse or Deaf Wish at the Tote, I found myself dancing with her by the light of the jukebox after closing-time or driving her home across deserted city bridges with the stereo up. The musical architecture of this record is a fine, floating electronic prism inside which Hardiman’s powerful fragility, sexiness and unpretentious poetic expression endlessly revolve. It’s intelligent, it’s intuitive.

Precise without being cold, smooth without being slick, raw without being ragged. It’s excruciatingly romantic, it’s dramatic, organic, dreamy, distilled, detailed, it has the heat of an affair. Eight elegant vignettes of humanity, lust, reflection, generosity, conflict and escape, set in bars and cars and other bubbles.

It has stars, moons, dreams. Bright fleeting moments like the scenes you glimpse from a fast-moving vehicle that somehow become suspended in the slow-motion of memory. Explosive experiences in tight spaces, light points of painful clarity set against a glittering black sequinned background. Like diamonds, the light in these songs is the result of extreme compression. They are interior journeys, externalised without losing any of their gorgeous intimacy. Mikey Young’s strong, sophisticated arrangements and perfect instrumentation set them soaring.

Sometimes I think about what Sally Bowles from Christopher Isherwood’s pre-WW2 Berlin could have done if she had a cheap keyboard from Cash Converters. Sometimes I think about the difference between standing under the full round white moon and standing in a bright round white spotlight on a dark stage.

Sometimes I think about how lonely I am, and how cool it is to be lonely. Like listening to music on headphones with my eyes closed, watching Rage in a dark hotel room, working late into the night under a lamp, Moon Rituals gave me that very specific liberty – the feeling that nothing else mattered – for a while.

As a special treat, Harmony will take the stage tonight at The Tote Hotel in Melbourne as opener for the first of Moon Rituals last ever shows. Details here.

Harmony’s third album Double Negative, is out today. Harmony are taking Double Negative on the road down the East Coast this August with special guests – full details here.

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