Moulton Is A Master Of Multimedia
New York City native Alex Moulton wears many hats. He’s a musician, producer, DJ, music video director, and CEO of Expansion Team Media, his media production company and record label of the same name. Mr. Moulton began DJing in 1995 to support his rabid music compulsion and, like many DJs before and after, has used various self-promoting monikers such as DJ Lux and Constructiconz (not to be confused with the Transformer baddies), to shape, mold and hone in on his own unique sound, utilizing various synthesizers, namely the infamous Moog.
When I first saw the cover art of his solo debut entitled Exodus, I immediately thought of some abstract fantasy novella’s book cover. It depicts a bikini-clad brunette in the arms of a muscular, shirtless man, not necessarily in the throes of passion but he’s whisking this beauty away, all the while floating on air, from a dystopian world set ablaze like perdition incarnate. At the time, one word came to mind: cheesy. Fantastically, the CD is anything but, and here’s why.
Continuously mixed like a DJ’s set, Exodus is a “concept” album in the best sense in that it was conceived and composed through the eyes of a trained filmmaker and thus is presented to the listener with a beginning, middle, climax, and finally, an end. Containing a slew of vintage 70s influences from the likes of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and Vangelis, Exodus even conjures up such novelty concept albums from artists such as Pink Floyd and even some songs by Genesis which told epic narratives sprawled out over the span of their respective albums.
An Electronic Concept Album, Really?
The term “concept album” isn’t a novel idea yet Mr. Moulton believed that the creation of an epic full-length album was not only possible to reproduce, but could be brought back to showcase the art of storytelling through music, similar in vein how a film transports a viewer. The result is a funky operatic space odyssey that has a great deal of fun along the way. There’s clearly a building in intensity in the compositions— a climactic arc that contains the necessary plot points, twists and turns, and culminates in a soft landing at the end.
Exodus is a brilliant 68-minute opus that’s filled with layers of lush, atmospheric spaceyness and ethereal compositions, some of which is co-mingled with live instrumentation, tribal beats, Blade Runner-eque transitional intermissions with sweeping synths (not muzak), in addition to a wealth of Electro Dance and even some Disco.
Admittedly, I initially found the music nothing more than some kind of silly space opera with some dance beats and symphonic synths thrown in for good measure. But when listened to uninterrupted the complexity of the defined and structured compositions as well as the sheer coolness factor that the music made me feel and respond to, is becomes readily apparent. And the music literally represents the best of both worlds—Electro with some cool, calm and relaxing interludes, as well as a plethora of rhythmic, Lounge-y beats partnered with full-on Dancier numbers.
More Synth Than Electronic
The only drawback is that this music not for every Dance music enthusiast, clearly, but it does cater to someone who likes synth compositions reminiscent of Queen’s scoring of the campy cult classic film “Flash Gordon,” circa 1980. But the music is told as a linear narrative whereas today’s full-length conceptual albums rarely, if at all, do not.
Mr. Moulton also utilizes some noteworthy artists to help him create his Exodus which I’ve included in my Stand-Out tracks section below..
A Few Highlights
"Overture" - The opening four-minute blast off prepares the listener for the long, layered and ultimately very entertaining road ahead. It beckons you to close your eyes and envision whatever you wish. The live instrumentation courtesy of Daniel Correa, who plays the drums and percussion on half the tracks and is a member of the New York-based Columbian Fusion band Samurindo, invokes looking through the lens of a camera as it moves in slow yet deliberate motions as the opening sequence is unfurled right before your ears.
"Meridians" - Taking a brief cue from a mellow transition before it, this track temporarily introduces some faster Electro elements of Dance and prominently features guest bassist Jonathan Maron from the Jazz ensemble, Groove Collective.
"Paradise" - Opens with a deep percussive beat that’s Disco-like and tinged with a bit of Jazz that makes up this sweet Electro track. This track also contains guitar virtuoso Jose Luis Pardo aka DJ Afro from one of my favorite Spanish rock bands, Los Amigos Invisibles, as well as keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., who has played with other faves of mine, Beck and Air.
"Vicious" - What I deem to be the ‘meat and the potatoes’ of the album, this is the danciest at its deep and dark finest.
Tracks 4, 6, 10, & 13 – Various interludes: Thought-provoking, sonic landscapes of grandeur that helps to center yet heighten a listener’s experience. Track 4, “The Prophecy” provides the strongest focus and sets the precedent for what tracks 6, 10, and 13 will showcase as you make your way through the narrative valley.