Self-titled ensemble debut Opium Moon is a supergroup with meditative soul.
Los Angeles-based ensemble Opium Moon produces some of the most enchanting music you’ll ever hear. I dabble in music scoring and licensing and immediately thought, “Music supervisors would kill for world music of this quality and beauty.” It brought to mind one of my favorite TV series scores of all time: Carnivale. Well, Opium Moon’s members already have a huge roster of film and television credits. They are a literal supergroup of composing and film scoring giants.
Lili Haydn’s Magic Violin
Violinist Lili Haydn was dubbed “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin” by musical icon George Clinton. In addition to performing with George Clinton, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and the divine Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (among others), Lili has had music in over 50 films. Haydn also sings and plays many other instruments. One wonders if she inherited some DNA from the great Austrian composer!
Musicians in Opium Moon
All of the musicians featured on Opium Moon have impressive credits to their names. Hamid Saeidi plays the santoor and has scored more than 30 films, TV shows, and dance and theatrical programs. The santoor, one of my favorite instruments to compose with, is also known as the Indian/Persian dulcimer. Bassist Itai Disraeli has many film/TV music placements; additionally he formed an experimental band with Jackson Browne and created the music program at the Los Angeles Wildwood School. Finally, percussionist M.B. Gordy’s expressive playing can be heard on shows such as Mad Men, Battlestar Galactica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love his work with the Irish bodhran, which is a frame drum held vertically upright and played with a double-ended wooden dowel. As pressure is applied to the drum and it is struck in different locations, the pitch and tonal quality of the sound changes.
Self-Titled Debut Album Opium Moon
Opium Moon’s self-titled debut is a long-form work of dreamy, meditative, and exotic music. It’s the kind of music you’d hear a gypsy caravan play around a dying fire with some new Middle Eastern friends they met on the road. The instruments flow together seamlessly. Each once comes forward at different moments to take center stage and then withdraws again. Every performer on this album seems to pay so much reverence and respect to creating a balanced soundscape. There is not one performer being too over the top or showing off, even though it’s clear the musicianship is spectacular and they certainly could “riff” impressively. The intelligent, meditative state and mood here is honored at all times.
Over the hypnotic percussion, Haydn’s gorgeous, slinky, emotive violin effortlessly slips and slides around the dancing, peppery quality of the dulcimer. At the same time, the bass lines interweave themselves into the music conversation. I love when the instruments unite together to play the lead melodic theme of the song, then disperse again. The best track demonstrating this is “How Can I Pray When the Beloved Is All I See.” (What a great title!) This song definitely tells a story. Perhaps of a young man trying to concentrate on his religious devotion while an exotic woman dances before him. At least, that’s my story. Maybe when you hear it you’ll have your own.
Learn More about Opium Moon
Learn more and listen to some sample tracks: Opium Moon.