Just by way of introduction, as I’m probably as familiar with this band as your average man on the street, MONOL!TH is an “electronic artist based out of Salt Lake City,” I assume that means it’s comprised of only one person, but beyond this I’m not certain. It’s an instrumental-only project though, for the record.
In the opening notes of MONOL!TH’s second album—sporting the somewhat pedestrian name Andromeda—the listener is treated to a myriad of promises that are all too common in this decade of music. There’s nothing inherently wrong with “Vega,” the opening track, only it conjures up all sorts of words that I’ve heard so much lately that they seem to have lost some of their potency, at least for me; ambient … electronic … soundscape … minimalist … These things are all well and good, but they’re simply not enough for me by themselves anymore. However, that’s not why I was disappointed with “Vega”; the real reason that I’m somewhat miffed at Andromeda‘s fairly average name and unspectacular is this: it’s simply not representative of the rest of the album.
That is to say, most of the album is good. Actually, it’s great!
When I first settled down to listen to some of the new releases that had been forwarded to me, and “Vega” came on, I kind of shrugged and thought I knew where this was heading; even went so far as to lean back in my recliner and close my weary eyes. “Well,” I thought, “I guess I’ll check out the new releases tomorrow instead…”
Then, after that two-minute intro, the title song“Andromeda” came on, and my sleepiness melted away like an ice sculpture in July. Suddenly I was alert. I was interested. I was listening. It becomes far too easy when shuffling through a large stack of new music to shut off your ears and just let it all wash over you but leave no impact; there can be so much sameness out there. When I start getting into this daze of musical apathy, my solution is usually to put down my headphones and go for a long walk, and not listen to music anymore until the next day. It takes something truly worthwhile to change my mind. And that’s what this MONOL!TH release is: worthwhile.
And there’s one song on this album that I found to be particularly worthwhile: track 10, “Leo.” I don’t know if the person behind MONOL!TH is familiar with that great old Japanese horror movie by Nobuhiko Obayashi, Hausu, also known as House—but this song shares a similarly whimsical atmosphere with the theme song of that wonderful work of cinematic insanity. At six minutes long, the song manages to hold my attention admirably, which is a feat for anyone in this modern age, and especially so for an instrumental piece.
There were lots of good songs on here too, not just “Leo.” Another great one was “Taurus,” the final track of the fairly short album; it’s got a great science-fiction-y buildup, and once it gets going it develops a great beat, both catchy and relaxing. There’s a lot going on in this album, and it’s definitely worth listening to all the way through before picking out any particular favorites.
In short, MONOL!TH’s follow-up to 2013’s Pyramid (which I have yet to hear, so that’s another one for the pile)—full of peaceful sci-fi-slanted synths and melodious grooves—is a worthy endeavor, and certainly worth your time.
RIYL: Photophob, Teen Daze, instrumental Daft Punk