Monos - Above the Sky (CD ICR)

Two side long tracks by Darren Tate, Paul Bradley and Colin Potter, recording here under the moniker  MONOS, giving in total 1 hour of enchanting drones. As often with these kind of compositions it requires intensive listening, preferably with headphones at a high volume, before the music reaches its maximum effect. The approach taken is not that far removed from their earlier work, but what they present here is without doubt among their most deep and enriched work, with a very great attention to detail. 

The first piece here (A Place of Voices) is the most rewarding, very loosely building up tension. The first part could easily be the soundtrack for an exhibition of impressionist painters, without sounding  at all dull or ambient.  After twenty minutes field recordings take over, with birds singing in a forest during a sundrenched afternoon. As evening starts to fall the drones take over again, gently flowing into even darker territories. This part especially has some creepy moments and very effectively goes beyond the friendly scenery as the idea starts to settle that there’s more going on.   

This idea is further developed on Cloudless Day, the second track. The piece meanders in unexpected directions for a while, from time to time bringing Nurse With Wound to mind (Soliloquy for Lilith, but also the enigmatic Lumbs Sister), with the claustrophobic feel from the first side steadily continued. Just like the Lumbs Sister soundtrack, the music comes across as highly visual, bringing to mind an alienated world, a world where one shouldn’t stay too long. Throughout the track there is a sense of urgency, fear sometimes, as if the tones (and overtones) here are revealing the darker side of the romantic impressionists paintings and will soon become a less friendlier place to be in. If adventurous sounding landscapes are your thing, this might just be your pick of the year. PvdG