How would I describe MoonJune Music? Brilliant? Superb? Amazing? Mind-blowing? Or Surreal? If the answer is all of the above, you probably might be on the right track. It’s been 20 years since Leonardo Pavkovic had launched the label which covers Progressive Rock, Jazz Fusion, Avant-Garde, and World Music. Alongside Esoteric Recordings, ECM, Harvest Records, Island Records (the Pink Years), and the swirling Vertigo label from 1969 to 1973 in its golden era, MoonJune Records is still going strong.
I first became aware of the MoonJune label back in the 2010s when I was a student in Houston Community College when I bought Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder’s first of the documentary series, Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga. It was where I first heard D.F.A. and I was hooked. It was this mixture of Italian Prog, Canterbury, and Jazz Fusion rolled into one. And during the summer of 2010, I joined the social media world with Facebook.
That was where I believe I became friends with Leo. If it wasn’t for social media, the blog would’ve been done and dusted. I decided to messaged him during that time by letting him know how much I enjoyed some of the music what he was unleashing and he sent me an envelope of MoonJune releases from Machine Mass Trio, Tohpati, SimakDialog, SH.TG.N, and Mahogany Frog to name a few.
And it’s been an amazing ride to see what Leo will send over. Whether it’s Dwiki Dharmawan, Soft Machine Legacy, Mark Wingfield, Slivovitz, Dewa Budjana, Stick Men, or Markus Reuter, Leo always has a good ear to bringing the world of music to life. For me who has been a supporter of MoonJune since 2010 after watching the Romantic Warriors documentary, I can imagine my ears would be perking to see what Pavkovic will think of next.
In an interview last year with Cedric Hendrix on the amazing CirdecSongs website on June 27th, Cedric asked Leo on how he defined his place in the Music Industry; “I believe I’ve been fairly successful in exposing a lot of great, deserving talents to a much wider segment of audiences. I believe fans of progressive music weren’t afforded the opportunity to become acquainted with so many great, deserving artists and their unique art – from these and other countries prior to the impact of MoonJune.”
“I do not feel the need to address questions as to why I did this or that, or why I am still running the label in such a non-conformist fashion since 2001. My approach to MoonJune has never been framed in any conventional manner. Initially, it just happened. And it’s still happening, and will continue to happen.”
And who knows where the future will be for MoonJune Records. Despite the world coming to a screeching halt last year in March due to the pandemic and COVID-19, the music of MoonJune has always lift our spirits up to make sure not just to mope and groan and be couch potatoes, but music will keep us alive during these tricky times.
To Leonardo Pavkovic, thank you for 20 years of unleashing incredible music from the label. Let’s see where the next 10 years will be in the 2030s to see what you will have in store for us in the near future.
And to top all off, here’s my top 20 MoonJune favorites:
2. Stick Men – Prog Noir
3. SH.TG.N – SH.TG.N
4. Stephan Thelen – Fractal Guitar
5. simakDialog – Demi Masa
6. D.F.A. – 4th
7. Tohpati Ethnomission – Save the Planet
8. Machine Mass Trio – As Real As Thinking
9. Slivovitz – All You Can Eat
10. Yagull – Kai
11. Susan Clynes – Life Is…
12. Ligro – Dictionary 2
13. Zhongyu – Zhongyu
14. Stratus Luna – Stratus Luna
15. Mark Wingfield – Proof of Light
16. Mahogany Frog – DO5
17. Moraine – Groundswell
18. The Wrong Object – After the Exhibition
19. Markus Reuter – Truce
20. Dewa Budjana – Dawai in Paradise