Monolog - Merge
On September 29th, 2014, Monolog released his latest full length album, entitled 'Merge', on Germany's popular Ad Noiseam label, home to some of the best experimental Rhythmic Noise, Ambient, Breakcore and IDM artists whom refuse to be pigeon-holed into a single genre. This is Monolog's second release on Ad Noiseam and it couldn't be a more fitting label. Up until this point, Monolog's individual releases have featured a multitude of electronic sub-genres, ranging from jazzy, abstract Jungle beats, to some of the filthiest, adrenaline-filled Drum and Bass/Breakcore tracks, and the noisiest, glitchiest of IDM compositions. His genre-spanning style has given him the opportunity to play at some of the most well-known experimental electronic music festivals, such as Fusion, Maschinenfest, Burn The Machine and Schlagstrom, as well as several Ad Noiseam birthday parties.
Monolog's seemingly flawless ability to combine multiple genres exhibits just how talented this ever-evolving artist is. Each track derives from an apparent genre and expands to create massively detail-oriented and layered tracks. It can be difficult to wrap your mind around what you're experiencing as you listen to each track, as they have a tendency to assault you with bizarre combinations of glitchy, percussive samples with low, undulating bass lines, and grating, mechanical samples with ethereal ambient sound-scapes. This album has an unnerving, unsettling feeling which leaves the listener trying to discern a stable framework for each song, but leaves them unable to comprehend a coherent sound structure. Do not expect a four to the floor album from Monolog. Rather, expect to have your mind warped into an immense, gelatinous pile of sludge.
This appropriately named album features two collaborations with Balkansky a/k/a Cooh. While 'AEAEGF', my favorite track of the album, stands out as one of the most layered, noisy and heavy hitting songs of the album, reminiscent of any Broken Note track, 'Sadness On A Cloud' shows us a completely contrastive side of Balkansky, exhibiting an ethereal and ghostly Ambient introduction that inevitably forms into, what I feel, is the noisiest song of the album.
We take a course off that beaten path with the song 'Tandfoi' and are introduced to Tone, a Broken Beat/IDM/Experimental artist whose creepy, reverberated vocals combine with some of the most clamorous Dub I have ever heard. I imagine if Trip Hop could be on an acid-induced journey, 'Tandfoi' would best depict it's spiral into psychosis.
Also on this album, we get a small dose of an intriguing merger of piercing, glitchy Hip Hop, infused with the Rap vocals of Flux & Joey Juggaknotts on 'Take A Breather', which is reminescent of, really, any Mothboy song.
We also are provided with two tracks by A Dying User, Monolog's collaborative project with fellow Dane Karsten Pflum, an IDM/Experimental artist. Both tracks feature elements of Glitch music, but while 'Dead And Used', having an undeniable Burial-esque feel to it, exhibits the noisy, Dub-influenced sound of Monolog's music, 'Zero Eight' focuses more on the blending of IDM and Ambient.
'Zero Ground' features Species, a/k/a Oliver Donath, a Drum and Bass DJ and producer from Berlin, who runs the Drum and Bass label Shadowforces. Somehow these two artists managed to combine elements of Noise Ambient and Dubstep, two genres that are so far apart from each other on the electronic music spectrum that, surely, an amalgamation of these two would prove unsuccessful. They have proven that to be incorrect.
The last of the mergers features two tracks with Swarm Intelligence, a newer, up-and-coming Ad Noiseam artist whose works range from Drone, Noise and Ambient, to Drum and Bass, Breakcore and Dubstep. Swarm Intelligence's remix of 'The Siva', my second favorite track on the album, infuses the signature Drone and Noise Ambient fundamentals of Swarm Intelligence's music with the IDM and Dub-influenced undertones indicative of Monolog's sound. Monolog and Swarm Intelligence converge to form a collaborative project entitled Diasiva. 'Make Mountains' is most likely one of the filthiest Breakcore songs I have ever heard and is quite a departure from their other track on this album.
Lastly, we have two original songs from Monolog. 'In Returns', combining elements of Drum and Bass and Breakcore, should be a lost, bonus track on the Tetsuo: The Iron Man soundtrack. The opening track of the album, 'The Man Next To You', is an introduction to the encompassing theme of this album, combining Glitch, Noise, Dubstep and Breakcore. This album features eleven eye-opening and overwhelmingly complex tracks, featuring collaborative works with a variety of IDM, Hip Hop, Drum and Bass and Dubstep artists, showcasing some of Monolog's most mind-blowing and impressive work to date.
This album is available for purchase on CD, or it can be downloaded as a digital file. There is also a poster print version with a download code. I believe there may only be one of the latter formats left, if it hasn't been sold since this review has been posted. This album was mastered by Angelo Liaros, otherwise known as the artist Mobthrow. Artwork for this album was created by SHVLFCE, a NYC based illustrator and concept designer.May 01 2015
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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