Saturday, 27 October 2012

Monoton - Monotonprodukt 7 (Desire Records)

30 years old, reissued on vinyl by Desire Records, this is 'one of electronic music's most important albums' according to Fact (click link for interview with Konrad Becker).

You can tell what all the fuss is about. It's aged better than most modern electronic produkts will, that's for sure. Yes, it got that motorik feel on the first track; an insistent rhythm which despite lasting 9mins seems to whizz you along the M4 of the mind in no time. It's not complex music, but has that something, a tone that runs throughout, a limited palette  perhaps, but hey, if it works...

'Tongogle' exemplifies what's right about this record. Here all kinds of roots can be heard, made (80s) modern, and timeless thanks to it's minimal drive. OK, you can here similar rhythms all over Tangerine Dream albums, but boiled down to this, at 5.09, the effect is very different. Instead of imagining hundreds of hippies cross-legged and bombed out of their brains, we see spacecraft zooming above the raised roads of a futurist city as depicted in the golden age of sci-fi illustration - well I do anyway.

Becker's vocals (mimimalist) expressing single phrases, the meaning of which are incomprehensible to these ears, yet that's irrelevant. I know he's saying 'Starship No. 9 due to leave', or 'android attack imminent', or simply citing a mathematical equation describing the properties of a black hole.

If the past is discernible, so to is the Future as written in the annals of the Detroit Moog cookbook, or Berlin's brutalist sonic architecture. It's a blueprint for much of what would come in the form of similar rhythms with added industrial dancefloor wallop. On 'Singsang', Becker reaches even further back in time to reinterpret the pioneering work of spooked outer space specialists such as Louis and Bebe Barron.


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