the secret wonders of Monoton

WE TEND TO FAVOR THE VINYL PART OF OUR MUSIC COLLECTION, BUT OCCASIONALLY THERE COMES ALONG A CD THAT IS A MUST-OWN; ONE SUCH DISC IS THE ORAL RECORDS RE-ISSUE OF THE 1982 ALBUM MONOTONPRODUKT 07  FROM MONOTON.  A FORGOTTEN GEM OF EARLY MINIMALIST ELECTRONICA, MONOTON SOUNDS JUST AS UNIQUE TODAY AS IT MUST HAVE UPON ITS’ INITIAL RELEASE.

MONOTON IS ACTUALLY ONE MAN, AUSTRIAN KONRAD BECKER, AND A COMPARISON TO ANY OTHER ALBUM OR GROUP IS A DIFFICULT ONE.  THINK OF PHILLIP GLASS ON QUAALUDES, OR KRAFTWERK ON A VERY VERY DISTRAUGHT DAY….. BUT THAT STILL DOESN’T SUFFICE.  MONOTONPRODUKT 07  DOESN’T EVOKE A DOUR FEELING, PERHAPS IT IS THE ABSENCE OF FEELING THAT IS MORE UNSETTLING.  COLD, MATHEMATICAL IN SOME WAYS, BUT ALLURING IN SO MANY OTHERS: HYPNOTIC, OTHERWORLDLY, TRANCE PRODUCING.  THE SOUNDS ARE NOT REALLY DATED (THEY DON’T SCREAM 1982 IN THE WAY AN EARLY HUMAN LEAGUE RECORD DOES), AND THE STRANGENESS THAT TAKES A FEW TRACKS TO PLACE IS THE ABSENCE OF DRUMS (THERE ARE PRACTICALLY NO PERCUSSIVE SOUNDS USED AT ALL), INSTEAD RHYTHMS ARE ESTABLISHED BY LOW FREQUENCY TONAL REPETITIONS WHICH SERVE AS A PLATFORM FOR SONIC EXPLORATIONS.  THE OCCASIONAL VOCALS ARE, APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH, SUNG IN MONOTONE UND AUF DEUTSCH ONLY AUGMENTED BY A TIGHT DELAY WHICH FURTHERS THE DISTANCE FROM COMPARISONS TO FOLKS LIKE KRAFTWERK WHO WERE SO VOCORDER HAPPY. 

WE THOUGHT SECTIONS OF  MONOTONPRODUKT 07  WOULD’VE MADE A MUCH MORE ENGAGING (or fitting)  SOUNDTRACK FOR A FILM LIKE 1982’s BLADE RUNNER THAN VANGELIS,

BUT DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD ON IT, LISTEN FOR YOURSELF:

http://grooveshark.com/#/artist/Monoton/404466

 

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