ILLER THAN ILLBIENT

by

comment
Monaural’s instrumental music crosses space jazz and dub with remixology, turntablism and electronica, creating some hypnotic interference patterns. Never falling into complete electronic abstraction, this Detroit trio reinforces its musical structures through repetition. The motifs are captivating, especially on "A," which combines Jah Wobble-style bass, scraps of Jamaican dub poetry, ghostly electronic flourishes and a drum machine that echoes the minimalist funk aesthetic of Martin Hannett’s productions for the Factory label. When these studio denizens aren’t lost in icy cool, dubby trance-outs, they’re flirting with the fire of drum-and-bass. As with the rest of its work, Monaural fluidly incorporates both live instrumentation and electronics into its underground breakbeat excursions, with some particularly impressive acoustic drum work in a genre more noted for drum machine overdrive. A title like "Last Exit" might evoke the bassisms of Bill Laswell, but the grooves on this record are deeper than most in the Axiom catalog. The shadowy sounds and alien echoes culminate in the closing shower of synth on "Icebox," a mellow end to a long-awaited full-length debut.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.