Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 23.37.08Moja

Focus Wales Festival

Live Review

May 2019

Moja facebook page

Focus Wales facebook page 

The first time I came to Focus Wales music showcase event in Wrexham eight years ago, it was a one room affair with a clutch of hopeful young bands – in 2018 it’s a multi-venue event bringing the world to Wrexham and turning itself into one of those crucial musical adventures like Tallinn Sound City, Ljubljana’s MENT, Bratislava’s SHARPE and a clutch of others where music comes first and music biz cocaine is not welcome.

The small city pubs and bars and impressive new art centre throb to the worldwide sound, so it’s no surprise to walk into a room and hear a stunning duo from Tokyo deconstruct music and build it into a rhythmic decibel-quake that makes your mind mosh as much as your feet.

Moja are pulling off that rare trick of mind-melding music into new shapes, machine-gunning rhythms but making it the wildest party in town with Avante garde thrills that turn the room into a seething, sweating, smiling mosh in a celebration of ideas and life.

There are only two of them but Moja are creating a symphony of stunning sound.

The woman on the drums is one of the best rhythm machines I’ve ever seen, driving the songs with polyrhythmic precision, cramming detail and precise power into the songs that breathtakingly switch rhythm patterns over and over, cramming detail and energy into complex and brilliant structures THAT YOU CAN DANCE TO!

The bass player has a battery of effects that are a total pedal-geggon and his feet are a blur of action as be kicks in one texture and sound after another, underlining his exquisite and driving bass runs that are cranked with filth one moment and then a flange- chorus -harmoniser octopus stew of digital FX that enhance his nimble-fingered runs and driving bass belligerence with so many flavours that you cannot get bored.

Not for one nanosecond.

Moja are from Tokyo and in that grand tradition of Ruins and Boredoms cram their songs with so many ideas that your head explodes trying to unravel them all. There is prog played at a thousand miles an hour, free jazz party, hardcore intensity, melodic arcs, lots of lunatic squelching effects on the bass and vocals and yet, and yet somehow there are songs and the rush of ideas that  never gets in the way of the party. 

Somehow we see them twice in on one night and they turn both rooms into a joyous cauldrons of bouncing celebration. Music this groundbreaking and inventive and fertile with ideas is usually reacted to with an earnest chin-stroking appreciation but Moja have turned the whole thing into a freak party. They are brimming with energy!! action! and ideas!

They are thrilling, off kilter tightrope walkers. 

They are testament of music’s never-ending quest for new shapes and sounds and festivals like Focus Wales never-ending quest showcase the,




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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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