Friday, 24 February 2012

Ghosts - Monolake (Imbalance)

'YE-E-E-OW! I'm back! I'm back! Get up offa that thing, and dance 'til you feel better!' You may be surprised to learn that, despite a three-year absence, Robert Henke does not start his new album in this fashion.

He's back, and he still sounds like Robert Henke but a little way different - in an evolutionary fashion, he's branched off but still carries the same DNA, that stuff we love, like crystal clear, cavernous sound, and precision engineering with punch.

On the title track, he even taps into techstep of old, to make techstep anew, and it's a damned good thing. Hearing 'Lilith' for the first time, I swore I sensed the presence of other ghosts, such a Doc Scott, and Goldie when he was good. Perhaps Robert's been listening to classic Reinforced or Metalheadz tunes.

It's still a Monolake record, with trademark ping-pong percussion, and that's a good thing too. After all, being an 'old man' (43), I wouldn't want him trying to make footwork music, or imitating Flying Lotus - no - he sticks with what he's good at, being Robert Henke.

'Aligning The Daemon' has a different feel though, in part, that part being the use of a Gothic church organ sound. It also sounds like a creaking ship, so imagine the ghost of a possessed organist playing on the Marie Celeste, if you will, you don't have to.

Henke doesn't make duff tracks, but a choice one here is 'Unstable Matter' - haunted by an evil-sounding entity which swoops around between the speakers - it's so good, so dark that it's making a cat meow outside my window. I can think of no finer testament to a record which carries something of the night in every beat and (heavy) breathing space.

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