Moka Only – Martian 2019

Moka Only has brought his Martian Xmas 👽🎄 series back for another winter season. This time around, you may notice the absence of the ‘xmas’ abbreviation. Moka felt that many potential listeners may have had an aversion to the Martian album series due to their perception of it being traditional holiday material. That being said, the wiser would know that despite the odd reference to the holidays, Martian Xmas has always been more of a winter themed affair. It is intended to be enjoyed well past Anglo-traditional confines, that of which the author has never prescribed to in the first place. On this go ‘round we find a distinct nod to the Martians of 2009-2010 wherein some of the fragmentation and splintered track styles have returned. Repeated motifs of the Bunkers, Hank Hill, and obscure British comedy outtakes are well represented here, as well as the ‘Martian ubiquitous’ statement of “Also German “ still pop up.

I am not certain of the significance of the former, but I’ll admit it does add to the mystery of it all. The customs are what seem to bring the core listeners back year after year. Aside from the obvious sprinklings of customary absurdity, we have newly explored territory throughout this voyage. ‘I Rock Ties’ harkens back to classic east coast jazz poetry with its odd vocal ‘cool pocket’, and it’s somewhat jarring 5/4-time signature. ‘Mood Lights’ essentially takes us into inner/outer space with freeform musings over an indiscernible tapestry of noise, only to abruptly end with a baffling narrative coda resting uncomfortably on a 70s psyche rock track bed. This concoction is repeated on ‘Machine Wrapped with Butter’. Pieces like these feel at home on a Martian Xmas outing. ‘Start up the Emax’ references a line from the classic 90s North Carolina based group Yaggfu Front.

Guests DavePsy and Mr. Brady respectively appear on ‘Have a Ball’ and ‘And Again’, ensuring that Moka’s Torchlight Commission crew is well represented. The album’s closer ‘Like Yeah’ wraps it all up with a ‘Naughty’ sort of vibe (you’ll see what I did there). In conclusion, I firmly feel Moka has recaptured what us true heads have loved most about the Martian series. The Jazz element throughout the record, really cements all aspects into one cohesive, juicy whole. This one will keep you jazzing for a long time to come. I am happy the record label URBNET continually allows for such artistic freedom. — Shuggie F Smith, Northwest Jazz Life magazine, December 2019. 🐎🎵

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