MOAT is a collaboration between Marty Willson-Piper and composer/multi-instrumentalist Niko Röhlcke.
“Some of my favorite music and artists have been discovered not by listening to radio…Not by word of mouth from friends…not from the Interwebs…not from Spotify…not from Pandora…not from Apple Music…no…Time and time again, I have gotten turned onto music that has stayed with me for life by first hearing it played while shopping in actual “brick and mortar” retail music stores. Like snapshots in a photo album, I can still remember many of these moments of discovery, times of being turned-on and tuned-into a particular artist…
It was at Grooves Records here in San Francisco that recently turned me onto some music I’d never heard, a collaboration by Marty Willson-Piper (guitarist from Australia’s The Church) and Niko Röhlcke (of Sweden’s Weeping WIllows) called MOAT, which was released in 2013.
Why did did the eponymously titled MOAT jump out on me?
Well, because of its understated beauty…and lovely songwriting…and rich, near-ambient production style…and chiming 12-string guitars…and violin…and moody keyboard flourishes…MOAT is music for a bluesy Sunday. Marty Willson-Piper’s voice is really emotive, falling somewhere between Bob Geldof, John Sebastian, Donovan, and David Bowie. And for all its acoustic, slow-burn brilliance, it is the final cut, “Lovestar,” that really knocks me out, a full band piece, an epic slice of modern psychedelia that sounds like a cross between George Harrison and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame.
This is the kind of album that makes me want to go back and dig down deeper into an artist’s catalog. If he can make a record like this in 2013, perhaps I will like his work with The Church and his various solo stuff. It just takes one great moment like this to convince me. Maybe you might like it as well…” (Mark Smotroff)
Update on MOAT II:
“It was the 19 May 2015. The MOAT project took one small step towards the future over the last couple of days, with Niko and I writing together in the Swedish countryside. As of November 2017 we have begun to record these songs and will be turning them into classics, starting this year and continuing in April/May of 2018.”
The idea for the collaboration between these two artists was that of producer/engineer Sigge Krantz. Knowing the work of both Niko and Marty, he imagined that together they would be able to create something special. Sigge loved Marty’s last solo release Nightjar, but as Marty played most of the instruments, Sigge’s idea was to make an organic record using a band, whilst combining Niko and Marty’s creative vision and talents.
In the Swedish autumn of 2010, Sigge introduced Marty and Niko, and the project was on its way to becoming a reality. They spent a few weeks at Niko’s house in the country writing together. They met again the following summer of 2011 to do a second writing session. This coincided with the Weeping Willows tour and Marty guested with them on stage at Orionteatern, Stockholm.
The MOAT album was recorded during the summer of 2012 beside a beautiful lake in a wonderfully restored Gamla Tvätteriet. This album captures the fusion of sparse Scandinavian beauty and English folk sensibilities, filmic and evocative.
The MOAT project reunites old friends with Marty, Weeping Willows drummer Anders Hernestam and Anders Graham Paulsson on bass. Hernestam played on Marty’s fifth solo album ‘Spirit Level’, whilst Graham Paulsson used to run Marty’s Stockholm studio. Special guests on the album include virtuoso Malin-My Wall on violin and maestro percussionist Torbjörn Svedberg.
A track from this album entitled “Try And Make Sense” was used in the Swedish police television drama “Arne Dahl” in the final episode of series one, entitled “Europa Blues”.
MOAT Release Party, Stockholm, Sweden, 17/10/13