Live in Ravenna
After the release of 2012’s acclaimed Circles LP, Moon Duo’s Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson relocated the band for the second time since its 2009 formation in San Francisco, this time from Blue River, Colorado to Portland. Yamada and Johnson had been touring extensively as a duo for the entire lifespan of the band, but they decided they wanted to try something new and add a drummer in advance of their European dates in summer 2013. That drummer ended up being John Jeffrey, who was hired sight unseen after meeting Moon Duo’s manager in Berlin.“The dynamism and flexibility that a drummer brings to the stage held great appeal,” Yamada said. “John turned out to be an ideal fit.”
As it happened, Jeffrey joined the band just in time for a tour that Yamada says “was defined by sweltering heat.” The routing took the now-trio through Europe during the most brutal stretch of the summer, with shows almost every night from early July to late August. Despite the hot and hazy weather, Yamada, Johnson and Jeffrey soon realized that this new incarnation of Moon Duo was jelling, and they decided to ask engineer Matthia Colletti to record the Italian leg of the tour.
Live in Ravenna is the result of one of those nights of recording, and it does an in- credible job of capturing the emerging sound of Moon Duo as a three-piece. It’s available as a limited, one-time vinyl pressing of 2,000. “Ravenna was memorable for a number of reasons, the most prominent being the really very intense heat, and the setting — Hanabi has an outdoor stage on the beach, the Adriatic Sea only meters away,” Yamada explains. “The show that night, and the recording of it, sort of encapsulates everything that was happening at the time – the heat wave, the journey, and the shift in the energy and composition of the band.”