Initially begun as a solo recording project of its Toronto, ON-born creative mastermind, primary songwriter, multi-insrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, Moon King may arguably be best known for the several year period that it was known as a duo featuring Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure last year, the project has managed to return to its roots. Coincidentally, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI around the same time as Wilde’s departure — notably, the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck, where he spent the better part of a year.
Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired a new batch of material, Hamtramck 16, a mixtape that not only documents his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place, it also is a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, as the material on the mixtape captures the Canadian producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s growing obsession with electronic dance music.
Finally having some time to himself after years of relentless touring, Benjamin began collaborating with local artists and musicians, until he formed a new band — with the intention of crafting a sound that currently draws from disco, classic, Detroit house, synth pop — and even pop. Mixtape single “In & Out” found Benjamin pairing his dreamy falsetto with a dance floor-friendly production that channels Nile Rodgers-era Madonna (i.e., “Lucky Star” and “Holiday“), Tom Tom Club (i.e., “Genius of Love“) and Larry Levan-era house as a driving groove is paired with fluttering, shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor-like beats and a razor sharp hook. And much like the sound and period, Benjamin is drawing from, the song manages to be incredibly accessible; in fact, if it wasn’t for the subtly modern production, the listener may have been tricked into believing that the song may have been released in 1983. The mixtape’s second and latest single “Ordinary Love” is a much more straightforward production, as arpeggio bursts of keys, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and swirling electronics are paired with Benjamin’s falsetto vocals — and while seemingly influenced by Nu Shooz‘s “I Can’t Wait” and classic house, the song manages to reveal a subtly modern productions been that nods at Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves and the 100% Silk Records roster.
The mixtape is slated for an August 4, 2017 release through Arbutus Records and Benjamin, along with his backing band will be on a mostly American tour throughout August and September to support the new effort, and it includes a September 8, 2017 stop at Silent Barn. Check out the rest of the tour dates below y’all.
08/11 – Baby G – TORONTO, ON
08/12 – PN, MONTRÉAL, QC
08/18 – El Club, DETROIT, MI
09/02 – Schubas, CHICAGO, IL
09/03 – The Bishop, BLOOMINGTON, ID
09/04 – MOTR, CINCINNATI, OH
09/05 – Double Happiness, COLUMBUS, OH
09/06 – Sound Hole, PHILADELPHIA, PA
09/07 – Charlies American Cafe, NORFOLK, VA
09/08 – Silent Barn, BROOKLYN, NY
09/11 – One Caroline, SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY
09/12 – Bard College, ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY
09/13 – House Of Targ, OTTAWA, ON
09/14 – Le Cercle, QUEBEC, QC