News & Politics

Stupid Bear Inspires EDM Track

Grab a fistful of molly and head to the zoo.

Photograph courtesy Smithsonian National Zoo.

Spring is probably the best time of year to visit the National Zoo. The weather is pleasant, the crowds are full, and more of the Smithsonian’s menagerie comes into public view after the long winter. The newest additions, for instance, Andean bear cubs Mayni and Muniri, are a playful pair who should delight visitors for years to come.

But don’t bother telling local musician Anders Carlson, who records electronic and dance tracks under the name Moonlight Mask, about Mayni and Muniri. Carlson, as reported by WAMU Bandwidth, has a new album containing a song inspired by that other young ursine at the National Zoo. That’s right: Bao Bao, the 18-month-old giant panda, is the inspiration for Carlson’s song “Bao Bao’s Birthday.” Listen:

Carlson tells Bandwidth the song is actually about “longing for a phone call from his girlfriend abroad.” The track is heavy on leisurely paced synths and drum machines, but it’s a solid composition that makes one curious why the Takoma Park resident rarely performs in public. (He plays tonight at Joe’s Record Paradise in Silver Spring, but that’s it for upcoming shows.) Then again, the National Zoo’s pandas themselves are even bigger divas who refuse to go outside 95 percent of the time. As of this writing, it’s 64 degrees and clear in Washington, but instead of enjoying the springtime sun, Bao Bao and her ilk are flopped down inside the panda house. Perhaps there are kindred spirits in people who listen to Moonlight Mask, or any other EDM artist, in private after running and hiding from the weather.

Moonlight Mask’s self-titled debut album is streaming on Bandcamp now, and is scheduled for physical release on May 1.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.