iah and ixchel is, or was, an avant grade duo from New York. Their first album i love moonbeams (or: portrait of the artist as an electric turtle) was released in 2013. While Iah wrote the majority of the music, the artwork and spoken word is by Ixchel.
The album is eclectic mix of collaborators and Garageband loops. All recorded using the external mic on a MacBook Pro, giving it the lo-fi effect. i love moonbeams.. features King Negus and other members of the psychedelic punk, hip hop group Wadada, which Iah plays guitar for and is the dominate songwriter of the group. King Negus brings conscious lyrics and smooth lines, that not only has an incredible flow, but are memorable performances.
While the tracks are mostly loops, guitar and bass, the record has an open sound to it. Probably because of the heavy effect use, but this is complimented by psychedelic lyrics of Iah and spoken word by Ixchel and MJ, a member of Wadada. “everywhere, i” is like a drunken Gorillaz b-side. “terrified” features another Wadada member, LoveGun, on the effected bass. On “the & me”, Ixchel showcases her imagery-ridden poetry to a melodramatic guitar. Ending with the sound of a click on the MacBook trackpad before a last second chord. Iah showcases his control of feedback and noise on “sometimes the stars can lead you home.” “angry birds” is probably the more accessible track on the album. Iah’s Beck-esque lyrics and approach with MJ on percussion. The album ends with “her highness”, a melancholy ending to an abstract album.
The album sort of flows similarly to Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica. Which makes sense, considering Iah is a big fan of the album and is influenced by Bill Harkelroad (Zoot Horn Rollo) of The Magic Band. Like Trout Mask, genre varies in each track. While there is definite hip hop influence, the surrealist spoken word and guitar work land on a different planet. Iah approaches the guitar fretboard in the similar fashion he once approached the piano keyboard with.
Iah & Ixchel released another album, “hieronymous borscht vs. the cosmic seapig” in 2014 before disbanding later that year. While both continue their respective journeys in the arts, there is no intention of the third album. Iah is working on a solo album and Ixchel is working on her own art projects. Not much else is known.
Essential Track: everywhere, i