It’s been a while since I’ve been back in this saddle. Let’s see if I still have what it takes to knock one of these things out. Tonight’s pairing is a combination of the bracing, the assertive, and the intriguing in the form of Mo’ynoq’s A Place for Ash and a Campari Orange cocktail.
The Tunes: Mo’ynoq’s A Place for Ash
Raleigh’s Mo’ynoq are no stranger to praise from me. Way back in 2019, I selected Dreaming in a Dead Language as our Album of the Month (and hosted that podcast myself), a decision that I still stand by. It was an album that had a kind of untamed creativity to it that captivated me instantly. So when I tell you that the band’s follow-up A Place for Ash is leagues better, I want you to understand the full weight of that statement. The same kind of wild abandon is given to the song writing process, but every element here feels so much more focused than before. There is a vision to this album, and although there is even more pieces brought into the picture (blues guitar solos? hints of death metal? ambient chord progressions?), nothing feels sloppy or rushed or thrown in for its own sake. Nothing is restrained, merely harnessed, channeled into the kind of black metal that is aggressive, melodic, and surprising at every turn. Clearly, the three years between these albums have not been spent idly.
The Booze: Campari Orange
In much the same way I have been intentionally listening to less and less metal as this year goes on, so too have I been trying to drink less and less beer. I love beer, and the Dark Lord knows I always have and will, but it is an interesting exercise, I think, to see if you are still who you think you are after removing the signifiers that have come to define you; do I recognize myself if I am not the person who listens to metal and drinks beer? To that end, and since I have a proper liquor cabinet now, I have been diving into the world of fancy cocktails more deeply than before, and an easy and effective one happened to land in my lap this week. I bought oranges to zest for a recipe I was making, and Campari because I wanted to try making negronis (great success, by the way, just in case you were wondering, love a good negroni). The end result is that I had fruit left over that would have otherwise been thrown out, since I don’t actually like eating oranges, had my bottle of liquor not also recommended juicing them for a simple cocktail. For the uninitiated, Campari is an Italian botanical liquor; very floral, very complex, and very bitter. Mixing it with orange juice (at a 3:1 ratio of juice to liquor, per package instructions) is a great introduction to the drink, as it plays very nicely with the bitter/sweet dynamic orange juice, particularly fresh juice, has going on. The botanicals give it complexity and depth, with the hint of anise seed pairing particularly well with the orange flavor. My top tips would be to definitely use fresh squeezed juice for this, and up the Campari from 3:1 to 2:1; it can definitely handle it.
Cheers, and be good to each other,