Monoloc / Jonas Landwehr
TBR: 22nd June
The river Styx has a dual personality, either the river that marks the boundary between the world of the living and the underworld or a beautiful and enchanting river goddess, this EP reflects the double edged blade with a split artist production. Almost a various artists production, but not just one contributor, we're treated to a three course meal each from two acts of the Unterland label. Sharing is caring after-all, and when we consider how long it takes to make just a few minutes of quality electronic music, combining our efforts makes a lot of sense.
Monoloc began work as an established artist just under two years ago. The fresh sounds on offer have been given a home under the wing of Unterland, a label he created to represent his work. Knowing that one artist isn't enough for a record label, getting Jonas on board was something vital for this second record from the newly born music company. Unterland describe themselves as having a Stygian sound, which to me throws me into the realm of Conan the Barbarian or even the heavy metal universe of Bal Sagoth. Applying the term to electronic composition allows for mysterious and strange sonics that represent the mystery and illusion brought to mind by such places and things.
Cosmic synthesiser sounds spell out a distance of extreme magnitude in the opening bars of this out there EP. Collisions between large rocky bodies form explosions and rumbles that fill the spaces drawn out before us. An intense beam of sound thrusts itself into the mix at various points, bringing new and terrifying energy that distorts and bends all around it. New drum sounds enter the mix as all fades to a horizontal quiet, a beating echo drum twinges on the real before everything slowly disappears.
When the next track begins, the drum is given front row seats and as an electronic clipping and bass drum synchronously form an eerie soundtrack, digital nuances creep in over the top in pulsating tones and scales. Breathy noises swirl and dissipate, like summer clouds high up in the atmosphere, the icy tingles of glitter shine in tiny lights. The collapsing and growing sensations that the sounds invoke draw closer as a bass tone begins to waver around a key pitch. As all sounds gel into one slowly moving river of liquid amplitude, the blend creates an interesting venue for all kinds of mental stimuli to feed from.
Thrive is the final Monoloc mix on this six track release. Spooky and illuminatory, the furthest places are reached out for and gestures as to what lays beyond are carved into sound and silence. White noise and bass drum combine with a construction of polyphonic runs of tone that seep in and out of existence. A brassy tone in the bass section begins to add a buoyant reverberation in short expulsions of deep airy pressure. Revolving around the continual phasing of tones and percussion is a sense of togetherness and clarity although it's hard to point to it precisely. Simple match-making in the crossing of intentions within each inserted instrument pin together the pieces of a dreamy sunrise.
When we make room for Jonas Landwehr, we move right along into a new section. Not one to shy from his own art, the once tranquil and spacey soundscape painted for us is filled with mechanical life. Quick buzzing pitches and tones knit into a twine of up and down moving sounds. Melodic inputs gently craft a topography from the neatly ordered chaos, piano taps in various learned places give a backbone to this newly formed organism. Once the initial intensity settles down, a rhythm protrudes from within and points out the peaks to newly garnished mountains. From Cerulean and Beyond really does whisk us into something already there and willing to show itself to our passing ears.
Sillage brings a faster beat with it, a nicely progressing intro starts the drum first, then synth and cymbal hand in hand join the show. Pulsing sounds add to the tempo while gently speaking notes begin to slowly make a bed in the music. As the sound of chirping synthesiser grows in volume, more voices of sound are given air to breathe. Something pulls the string, and most of the initial form vanishes leaving only the recent additions of waveform which are soon used to build on more layers and towers that change everything just enough to notice. A driving sensation pulls the music forward and grumbles of underscore push everything up in places that seem to beckon them. The progression moves again and the metallic surges of energy begin to dominate just for a few moments. It brings everything back to the bass drum it began with to rebuild what has disintegrated under its own pressures.
Aenea's Return features Charlotte Weber. The final number on this EP begins with piercing abstractions that change the direction and grain as fluidly as gusts of wind on an icy lake. Soon it's as if we go under the water itself as new distorted wobbles gather in bubble like groups as we delve deeper into these mysterious audial surroundings. Now the jumpy timbres seem to be shafts of light darting into view from behind reaching jungles of underwater plants. Are there seductive sirens calling to us in the distance? Perhaps, maybe we should just admire this forest of light and bubbling reality. I think they're drawing in closer, move like the reeds and maybe they wont see us.
Like physics and biology, these two artists share a chemistry between them which works well progressively and compliments each other on many levels. The work as itself brings in a brand new energy and awareness on new realms of dark yet sonically enlightening areas of digital space. Honey and pot, these two composers of out of the way sounds need to be given our focus and studied with the telescope because inside this nebula is something glowing and hot.
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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