For their seventh album, Italian underground jazz trio Hobby Horse has produced something unexpectedly calm and soothing, without abandoning the dark current underpinning their previous records. Produced during Italy's COVID lockdown, the 8 tracks of Goodnight Moon were predominantly improvised using instruments unfamiliar to the performers and pieced together via a series of overdubs into a gritty lo-fi suite of lullabies, somehow both comforting and disquieting.
Despite the extemporaneous nature of the source material, the impression upon listening is not a chaotic one, but rather that of something familiar yet oddly distorted, ineffable: the hazy memory of a fever dream.
"This record contains music we have created within the confines of our own homes, using instruments we had at hand. We don't know how to use most of them properly, and thus, what you are about to hear is a collection of small but happy discoveries, the fragments which remain after all the rest has been discarded.
Goodnight Moon was originally imagined as a record of lullabies for a child not yet born. Despite our initial clarity of intent, the path we took was a wandering one, and we have lost our way, ending up somewhere we had not imagined. This is not a new occurrence for us, and seems integral to our internal dynamic, and strangely fitting to this period of uncertainty.
Indeed, any illusion of control over our lives has suddenly disappeared for all of us: We can no longer look to our parents to protect us, nor can we as parents guarantee security to our children. It is difficult to see where this will end - only time will tell.
In the meantime, we offer you this thing born from our own confinement in the hopes that hearing it will comfort you, just as creating it has comforted us."