Moth Cock – If Beggars Were Horses Wishes Would Ride

To be released on cassette and digitally on Black Friday, 11/29/19. C50 – Orange shell with black imprints – super-ferric stock. 2-sided 3-panel J-card with artwork by Moth Cock. This is the catalog page with album information and artwork. To view the store page, click here.

Kent, OH-based freak jazz / carnival-core noise legends Doug Gent and Pat Modugno’s recordings as Moth Cock have been defining entries in the Hausu Mountain catalog since the label’s earliest days. The duo’s tape Bremmy (HAUSMO6, 2012) began a relationship that has since racked up four full-length albums, a split LP with Form A Log, and three releases by Modugno’s warped beat solo project Khaki Blazer. If Beggars Were Horses Wishes Would Ride, the most recent missive issued from the Cock boys’ camp, clearly attests to what makes them such an indelible force in the American DIY underground, while pushing their already beyond-twisted sound into new heights of surreal, comic mania.

Built over Gent’s freewheeling saxophone improvisations which Modugno processes through effects and live-layers over his own fragmented loop structures, a typical Moth Cock session accumulates layer after layer of brass, stuttered percussion patterns, and goofy sound effects. The duo’s fields of sound grow denser with each burst of input, including vocal hiccups and trumpet fanfares from Modugno alongside Gent’s ever-spiraling sax-mangling. Eventually the margin fades away between lead voices and background elements, between what they’re performing at that given moment and what sounds remain looped and recalled from minutes before. The resulting sessions are deeply disorienting and time-dilating, while maintaining a sense of unpredictability and unhinged comedic glee — all qualities that come as close as possible to exemplifying the core tenets of Hausu Mountain’s “sound.”

While the trajectory of Moth Cock’s recordings have typically taken them deeper into overblown noise and densely layered screwball hellzones with each subsequent release, If Beggars Were Horses… might surprise longtime listeners by sounding relatively pared down and deliberate by their standards. Modugno’s staccato beat structures have a little more room to breathe in each mix as they bounce over brittle snare and hi-hat patterns and repeating blasts of smeared, static texture. In the context of these more open foundations, Gent’s sax performances shine with added emphasis and clarity as he pours out sheets of sound at a rapid clip, or leans back in his signature lawn chair to bleat out some foul extended-tone squeals.

While Modugno’s gonzo beats bear the influence of Black Dice, Matmos, and the Ralph Records catalog, Gent’s playing hits like an alternate dimension Ornette Coleman or an atonal snake charmer hypnotizing a mess of freaks at the basement gig. Moth Cock draw constant inspiration from the fertile central Ohio experimental circuit that includes mainstays like Aaron Dilloway’s Hanson Records, the origins of the seminal trio Emeralds and its present day branches, and Hausu Mountain family members like Tiger Village and Machine Listener. One reigning ambassador / longtime fixture of the Cleveland scene, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, shows up with a text-to-speech monologue for the intro of If Beggars Were Horses…, telling us that Moth Cock “are so fried, you would swear they just scraped them off the side of the oil tub at Sheetz.” At its heart, the Moth Cock project is about the symbiosis of two best friends who meld into one quivering, bizarro entity whose boundaries can’t be readily identified. Gent’s sax couldn’t layer into the mix without Modugno’s electronics, just as Modugno’s beats are capable of cresting into the territories of unhinged free-jazz by way of Gent’s sax. The Cock boys draw ever closer to each other as they hash out their bizarre vision of improvised performance and experimental composition, and we can’t help but follow them just to see where they might end up next.