Moon Glyph talks music, rates cocktails at Bryant Lake Bowl
Founder and owner of local label Moon Glyph Steven Rosborough is a mellow fellow. When asked to join me for some cocktails this week he sounded pretty unsure, and claimed that he doesn't know much about drinks and that he usually just has a beer. But when I told him how much Gimme Noise loved his label, we heard he was leaving town soon, and we must meet -- his politeness got the best of him. We were soon belly up to the bar at the Bryant Lake Bowl for some tasty treats.
With mix master bartender, Sky Audsley shaking up each flavorful amalgam for us, Rosborough talked music, the upcoming move he has planned to San Francisco, some new releases he has in store, and just what powers the small but prolific label he started just a few years ago. Most importantly, we get to the nitty gritty of just what cocktails might satisfy the man who has released more than 40 cassettes, records and CDs on his elemental imprint.
On the Dorian Gray: In describing the flavor of the grapefruit, orgeat, Zirbenz concoction, "That's great. It's a nice balance of sweet and tart. Some real nuance in there. I like the nuts."
Its musical equivalent: After some thought and a couple more sips Rosborough squints a bit, "You know I'd put it up there with a real lush Syd Barrett tune."
Growing up in Peoria, Illinois, Rosborough went to school for design at Drake college in Iowa before eventually moving up to the Twin Cities where he started his record label. Focusing on his design style and personal music taste he was able to get things going while working as an employee at the Electric Fetus just a few years ago in 2009.
"I initially started as more of a personal project kind of thing. Releasing small runs of cassette tapes often duping each one at a time and hand making and folding the artwork." he explains handing me a couple new 7" records and CDs hot off the Moon Glyph press. "I take a lot of pride in the visual approach to everything and that's typically the first thing people respond to really well."
The spacey, technical, somewhat retro look of Moon Glyph titles does evoke a certain kind of throwback time when album art was as important and often part of the overall experience of listening to music. Like any great label Moon Glyph prescribes an aesthetic that sets it apart from other labels. Like any astral traveller Rosborough is taking the operation to other orbits. In a couple weeks he'll be moving to the Bay Area.
"I've lived in the Midwest my whole life so want to try things out there. I definitely want to keep doing some of the Minnesota bands I been working with though. My next release is of Leisure Birds who put together a concept record of sorts called Globemaster. It's a grand sci-fi themed thing about seeking god from with Seti signals." Steven explains with a straight face. "I think it's an evolution of what they do. That one will come out the end of August."
Another Twin Cities electro band, Claps has some new product, "We're putting out a new cassette from them called Glory, Glory that I'm really happy with. It's more bleak than their Guilt Ridden Pop record. There's a live sound and dirge element to it."
The bands Rosborough picks for Moon Glyph tend to veer toward the droney side of the musical spectrum. Asked to describe what he's looking for when deciding to release a band he describes a variety of sounds that are more psychedelic and in line with his own personal tastes but also falling into some different categories of progressive, spacey, freak folk and electronic music. "People have broad tastes. Having a wide swath of music to put out is more interesting and how people listen to music now anyway."
Next up something the Bryant Lake Bowl calls the Violet Reviver: A mix of Gin, Cointreau, Vermouth, Creme de Violette and Pernod.
Musical equivalent: "This one is like a Phil Collins record. You know, bald and clean. Like a clean stainless steel kind of thing. Not necessarily warm."
Putting down his strainer Audsley chimes in, "Hey, you know that solo Robert Plant record, Principle of Moments? Phil Collins played on that and on the back of the record they are all standing there and he's got a sweater with an embroidered drumset on the front. Just in case you didn't know what he does." Stoked about Moon Glyph he tells us he's a big fan of Food Pyramid's Mango Sunrise. "I really like early Tangerine Dream kind of stuff so I love those guys."
Some future releases coming up at Moon Glyph also include some non-local bands including Copenhagen's Halasan Bazar also in the cassette format, "They're kind of Byrds-y psyche pop with nice lush production. It really blew me away when it landed in my inbox. Also Dead Luke who are from Madison who's had a great record last year I put out. They're new cassette coming out is called God Takes LSD, real slow burning organ songs. They have this melting American flag on the cover which I'm psyched about."
Almost forgetting our last cocktail Steven takes a big sip of the Devil's Discipline: Bourbon, Allspice Dram, Bitters and Cava.
Musical equivalent: "I was really hoping this one tastes like Lee Hazelwood and it really does. Like that song 'Buying Back'. 'I'm buying back what I used to give away.' That's a really good line."
The bartender gives his two cents, "I think it tastes like Christmas. Burl Ives I suppose. Does it taste like Lee?"
Steven responds honestly, "I don't know. I feel like these drinks don't taste like anything I listen to. They're so clean. Yeah I guess it tastes like Lee Hazelwood, very manly. I'm mostly a beer drinker. I like IPA's."
I ask him what his favorite beer is and it's musical equivalent, "I really like Surly Hell and I don't know. Hmmm, I'd say Slayer but their drink is Stella Artois."
Moon Glyph will be on hand DJing at the Claps cassette release show with Safewords, Rollerblade and Collin Gorman Weiland this Saturday night at the Hexagon Bar. 10pm Free
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