One of the most notable Russian contributors to Gothic/Neofolk/Darkwave music scene, “Moon Far Away” was formed in the city of Arhangelsk in 1995. From the early period they adopted the concept of “facelessness” of band members, wearing white masks in order to detach their project from the identity of musicians. Their mission is to share an esoteric ambient by combining the music and visual imagery which aims to be “beyond-human”. The concept of celebrity is therefore consciously avoided, and music is offered as a vehicle for mystical union with the Divine.
The band is inspired by the Russian North from whence it originates, but does not restrict its source of creativity to one tradition or belief system. If the dominant one is to be sought, however, it wouldn’t be pagan heritage but the Orthodox and Byzantine spirituality, according to the leader of the project, known as the Count Ash. Nevertheless, the older layers of heritage are most certainly included, and the band composed many songs with folklore undertone. They often deal with the subject of the annual harvest cycle, also very frequent in the band’s visual arts through representations of scythes and crops. Count Ash underlines that their compositions have archaic, magical dimension which aims to evoke the ritual side of the folklore.
In 2008, Moon Far Away recorded the single “Mother Russia” which provoked some questions by the press. Count Ash was decisive stating that “Single, of course, has no political overtones. MFA has never been and will not be spokesmen for the interests or ideologies of specific political parties or movements.” He further pointed out that the song can be seen as a call for revalorization of Russian traditional values, daily spirituality and return to contemplation in the world of consumerism and frantic technological advancement. Summing the subject up, Count Ash said “We just decided to clothe the traditionalism of the XXI century in the form of artistic manifesto” – speaking of which, it is very interesting to explore the official band’s website, featuring the Moon Far Away’s Art Manifest in its full form. It is certainly worth reading in its entirety but here we will bring only an excerpt:
Sound is the crimson blood of Existence, it reacts to Her phantoms
and casts a spell on Her future.
It is a vague and ever drifting away path between
the Outer and the Inner.
Music is the highest stage of creative development
defined by a combination of aesthetic codes with a universal mystical
language of spiritual practices.
Steps of musical consciousness are the stages of merging Ego
into mystical sound time:
listener – performer – improvisator – Creator.
Moon Far Away used to cooperate with the French label “Prikosnovenie” which made them quite well known in the West. They also appear on European Castle Festivals and similar manifestations, and many times their songs were issued as part of international compilations. They recorded eight albums, the first of which was self-released and the second “Lado World” a demo from 1997, which brought them some recognition. Nowadays their reputation is well established and many fans are impatient to hear about the possibilities for the new releases. According to the last interview, the band is currently working on the new album “Acou” and prepares to appear at the compilation marking the anniversary of the Russian Gothic label “Shadowplay”. Meanwhile, enjoy in their earlier tunes!