Premiere/Dominic Valvona 




Admlithi ‘Radal’
(In Black Records) Single/22nd May 2020


The mysterious Scottish enigma Admlithi returns from the veils with a minor opus of gossamer and gliding synthesized hymnal beauty. Following on from his 2018 debut album for Armellodie Records, Tyrants, the producer and multi instrumentalist breathes diaphanous life into his latest mini-opus ‘Radal’; a hushed, attentive epic that takes its title from the manufactures of the buoyant tubular sounding electronic tabla that drives it along (purchased, we’re told, at a car boot sale for five pounds: now that’s what you call a bargain).

Already using an eclectic palette of post-punk, electronica and jittered psychedelics, with influences as diverse as The Associates, The Chameleons, Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Japan and Erasure, Admlithi now channels the sophisticated searing and atmospheric synth work of Vangelis as he subtly reaches towards the heavenly stratosphere. Yet despite the reverent and unearthly vapours, lyrically the song is about “trying to dig tunnels back to the happiest time in your life only to find the earth is full of boulders.” Travails have seldom sounded so scenic and hallowed.

The Monolith Cocktail is delighted to be sharing that single, released through our pals at the Glasgow label hub In Black Records, ahead of its release on the 22nd May.






Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Premiere Single/Dominic Valvona




Provincials   ‘One-Armed Swordsman’
(Sacred Geometry)   Single/Video


Released during the tumult and crisis of 2019, in the throes of post-Brexit negotiations, alternative-folk duo Provincials produced the mesmerizing and spellbinding miasma The Dark Ages. At the time it can be seen as a protestation against the forces of Nationalism, even Imperialism, but as Covid-19 reaps its harvest and sweeps across the world in 2020 you can’t help but see it now as an augur of an all too real plague-crisis Dark Age. Despite the dread, the duo portrayed that Domesday dystopia with a diaphanous lulled and beautifully administered deft touch, painting a bleakly poetic diorama of being swept under a despairing riptide. That album – the duo’s second – was an increasingly more experimental move away from the serene changing-of-the-seasons joyful reflection of their earlier work, especially the Ascending Summer EP: which seemed like a dreamy folk ode and peaceable traverse of the English scenery.

Meandering along a path that stretches from the Norman church dotted shingly shoreline of the southeast coast of Romney to a revenge-soaked Iberia, taking in the trauma, stress of The Crimean War and WWI, Provincials conjured up a lamentable present on that last minor-epic. Recorded in the same period but left off the album, today’s premiere ‘One-Armed Swordsman’ was deemed perhaps too wild, different and incongruous to sit on that songbook. Not a problem, as the duo has found the ideal time to release it as a separate entity in the most anxious of epochs, and furnished with a rustic-set esoteric symbolized video, shot in lockdown isolation. In separate rural homes, Seb Hunter hangs his head wearily from atop of the stable, strains the lyrics from some dusty tome form behind his eagle like garden sculpture and re-strings his ‘baritone-growled’ guitar, whilst siren foil Polly Perry flails and dances round the Theremin. Both exude the pining mood of our alienated stasis.

A precursor to their third LP (scheduled for the Spring of 2021), to be released on Weird Walks co-founder and psychogeography musical artist Owen Tromans’ marvelous expletory landscape inspired label, Sacred Geometry, this gnarled, grunge-y plaintive tumult was recorded and produced by Dan Parkinson at Wooden Heart Studios, Hampshire. Dan also plays the grinded-out drums, which take time to emerge from the opening sustained gristle and entanglement of Hunter’s experimental guitar and Polly’s Theremin fluctuations lead-in.

A pained expression waiting to be let out, the encumbered ‘One-Armed Swordsman’ sounds like a torrid merger of Swans, Dinosaur Jnr. and Ultrasound. Marking a change perhaps in direction, this single may have been recorded in less daunting times, but encompasses the feelings of disconnection and nervousness in the now. We wait to hear the results of lockdown on the Provincials next album in the Spring of 2021.





Related posts from the Archives:

Provincials ‘Dark Ages’ Review

Provincials ‘Ascending Summer EP’   Review

Owen Tromans ‘Between Stones’   Review



You can now support the Monolith Cocktail via the micro-donation platform Ko-Fi.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for interest/love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Premiere/Dominic Valvona




Yonic South   ‘On’
(La Tempesta Dischi)   Taken from the upcoming Twix & Dive EP/14th May 2020


Almost sweet and breezy in its cause static fuzz, busy shimmered bed of cymbals and chewed up slacker guitars, today’s premiere teaser showcases an earlier, more naïve, heart-on-the-sleeve incarnation of the Italian switcheroo Sonic Youth mischief makers, Yonic South. Taken from the upcoming new EP, Twix & Dive (which, as the title might suggest, is at least partially a fascination with the famous chocolate caramel bar), ‘On’ strikes a dang chord before slipping into a yearning howl of scuzzy, bending lo fi.

Following up on last year’s debut EP Wild Cobs, the garage punk agitators have already gone nostalgic with their latest record; going back, as they have, to the heady early days; back before they corralled, current, drummer ‘Johnny Lad’ into the band. Twix & Dive is made up of both brash post-punk derangements and more dwindling C86 Anglophile guitar dirges: the sound of a band finding their sonic calling you could say.

With an interest for UK culture of the 90s and 2000s, the Italian troupe of members from the Bee Bee Sea and Miss Chain & The Broken Heels fraternity, turn in a raucous garage punk rumble of Oasis’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, and pen a hypnotic Hooky bassline imbued grinding tribute to one of Anfield’s finest, Steven Gerrard (now, interesting fact, managing my own preferred Glasgow club of Rangers). Just one of many fascinations – previous popular culture icons of fun include the viral Techno Viking – an obsession with Liverpool football club results in a eulogy like track suffused with the sound of the Kop ringing out as the anointed footballer reads a farewell message to the stands.

For those unfamiliar with the Yonic South’s fanaticism and surreal humour, their sound is a cacophony of Thee Oh Sees, Black Lips, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Country Teasers and Swell Maps.

Their prolific touring schedule has seen them deliver riotous live performances around their native Italy and on a recent European tour, which saw them share stages with the likes of King Khan, Preoccupations, and Warmduscher.

For your aural displeasures, the Monolith Cocktail presents teaser, ‘On’.




Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Premiere/Dominic Valvona




Simon McCorry  ‘Pieces Of Mind’
(Close Recordings)  Single/24th April


We’ve been spoiled of late with a flurry of Simon McCorry releases, this being the second ‘premiere’ of his work to be hosted by the Monolith Cocktail in recent months. The Minimalist Acid Techno imbibed ‘Pieces Of Mind’ single however is an entirely different composition to the previous standalone ambient peregrination single ‘The Nothing That Is’; that was a stirring suite of atonal art borne out of the acclaimed composer and cellist original score for Javaad Alipoor’s play Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran – which premiered at Traverse as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019.

Subtle, incipient with Techno undulations, metallic springs and nodes working away below the chiming polygons and skirting zinc, ‘Pieces Of Mind’ channels a myriad of influences from the 90s acid/warehouse scene; artists such as Plastikman, Autechre, System 7 and The Orb, the latter for whom he has recently opened for. Personally, this was in my humble opinion the golden age of the burgeoning electronic music scene. It’s where I first cut my own teeth as an aspiring DJ – I’ll save that story for another day if you don’t mind.

As Simon explains, “composed entirely with the analogue mono synth the Dreadbox Erebus, ‘Pieces of Mind’ is an invocation of nostalgic memories of pre-dawn wanderings around London after warehouse parties, taking in the freshness and calm of the morning before the madness of the city came roaring into life”.

Not so much a change in direction, as an excursion, we should be used to McCorry’s constantly expanding explorations; this is an artist after all that has performed in arenas as diverse as the concert hall, the church and the gallery space. An artist who’s just as comfortable composing and manipulating frayed and bowed cello articulations and field recordings as he is constructing a synthesized memory of the 90s rave phenomenon.

Airing a day head of its official release via McCorry’s own Close Recordings imprint, ‘Piece Of Mind’ is officially released on Friday the 24th April 2020.




Background

Originally born in London to mixed Indian/British heritage, McCorry trained in cello at The Centre for Young Musicians & Morley College then studied philosophy at Durham University. He is now based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. As a performer McCorry is well travelled, he has performed at many prestigious events and institutions including in Orlando Warrior with Julia Cheng at the South Bank as part of China Changing Festival 2017. In 2019 live highlights also included appearances at Stroud Jazz Festival and Camp Elsewhere in Wales alongside Alabaster dePlume and Snapped Ankles.


Related posts from the Archives:

The Nothing That Is Premiere

Border Land LP Review



The Monolith Cocktail is now on Ko-Fi:

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Single Premiere/Dominic Valvona
Press photo/Ola Elmquist




David Åhlén   ‘If I Have You’
(Jivvär)   Single/17th April 2020


A beatific longing of hymnal beauty, the brand new whispery veiled single from the hushed falsetto Swede David Åhlén is a most reverent ethereal plaint from the spiritual soul. Released ahead of the upcoming If I Have You EP on the 17th May, the title track angelically ushers in the Island of Gotland based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s communicative passion for the Christian liturgy.

Retreating to that island community of Gotland and with the space and skies of island existence Åhlén took time to start studying mystical Christian texts, and to take on board the space and peace of the work of musical mystics such as the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. He was particularly moved by the Biblical Psalms, lyrics such as “deep calls to deep in the roar of your waters” are directly inspired by Psalm 42, as David explains “many of the lyrics for the EP are about the mystery of our soul speaking to God and the longing that follows”. Musically steeped in this traditional influence and spiritual yearning, ‘If I Have You’ is elevated further towards the heavenly by the inclusion of the diaphanous holy tones of The Boy’s Choir Of Gotland and a sympathetic chamber ensemble.





Åhlén’s previous releases have found international acclaim, with glowing reviews and radio play all over the world – especially for his similarly holy inspired 2016 LP, Hidden Light. Previous to that his 1921 duo toured extensively, supporting such luminaries as Peter Broderick, SOHN and Loney Dear.

The If I Have You EP is production collaboration between Åhlén and Swedish producer Manne von Ahn Öberg, who is known for his work with artists such as Stina Nordenstam and Nicolai Dunger, and features a host of congruous musicians and voices. The Monolith Cocktail is delighted to be able to premiere, in the UK, the showcase title-track ahead of its official release on Friday 17th April.




Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

PREMIERE/Dominic Valvona




Alex Stolze ft. Ben Osborn and Anne Müller   ‘Babylon’
(Nonostar)   Single/10th April 2020


A Nonostar imprint communion, chamber-electronic star Alex Stolze once again teams up with his label’s roster of congruous artists to poetically lament about an ever-fracturing Europe on the new biblical augur entitled single ‘Babylon’. Receiving its UK premiere on the Monolith Cocktail ahead of its official release on the 10th April, this sparse, stark but gorgeously arranged neoclassical elegy brings together the talents of violinist, composer, label boss Stolze, lyricist, pianist, award-winning sound designer and deft soundtrack composer of acclaimed “libretti” Ben Osborn, and renowned experimental-cellist and solo artist Anne Müller.

Repeated foils, both Osborn and Müller have collaborated with the Berlin-based Stolze on number of occasions in the last few years: Müller joining Stolze and the UK polymath Sebastian Reynolds on two volumes of the Anglo-German Solo Collective project, and Osborn, finding common ground through his shared Jewish ancestry with the former Bodi Bill, Unmap, and the experimental avant-garde Dictaphone star, releasing his debut LP Letters From The Border on Stolze’s burgeoning label in 2019.

Channeling that Jewish musical heritage once more on this fragile suite, Osborn’s perceptive and haunting Tarot liturgy-rich lyrics, sung by Stolze, echo over a classical bowed Eastern European toiled arrangement of despair and protest at the state of a continent on its downers. A plaintive chamber-pop requiem simultaneously timeless and chiming with the political lurch towards populism, nationalism and a rejection of neo-liberalism and institutions in general, ‘Babylon’ is a foreboding travail through an imagined vivid European wasteland.

As Alex explains: “Babylon is a tribute to community and the dreadful consequences that can occur when societies lose a sense of communal cooperation, with this in mind it made sense to develop Babylon in this highly collaborative way”.

Alex adds: ‘“Ben’s lyrics talk about what’s happening in Europe at the moment, and all over the world. My favourite phrase is ‘I was walking home through the streets unknown when a fist struck out of the silence, and a voice called ‘yours is to walk alone’. It’s an image our time, when nationalist and far right fear coincide with stock market crashes and it feels like we’ve gone back to 1929.”

But then came Coronavirus, and now all hell has been unleashed at a time of great fragility, not only Europe, but around the entire world. It remains to be seen how we all pull together, especially when the message is one of self-isolation and distancing.

 

You may very well detect it, but among the lofty inspirations for ‘Babylon’ are the later protest themed works of Leonard Cohen – specifically the albums You Want it Darker, The Future and I’m Your Man – and the legendary 1736 arrangement of the liturgical song ‘Stabat Mater’, by Italian composer Pergolesi. You can add just a hint of Anthony And The Johnsons too to that rich cerebral mix.

Stolze’s latest beatific if pining single follows on from a brilliant electronic chamber pop EP, Mankind Animal, and the 2018 fully realized album suite Outermost Edge. Highly political, yet preferring to romantically allude to the instability and rise of authoritarianism and the ongoing migrant crisis with both poetic sonnets and metaphors, Stolze provides neo-classical pop maladies and aching heart music that comments without division and rage. That last LP weaved sophisticated undulations of effects and synthesized waves with amped-up trip-hop like live drums brilliantly. ‘Babylon’ however returns to a more stripped, less synthesized augmented production. A song of unity in turbulent times, at a moment in history where minds have never been more concentrated, let’s hope the message of this song leaves an indelible impression, and sets in motion a change.


Premiere
Dominic Valona
Photo Credit: Miles Hart




Sebastian Reynolds   ‘The Universe Remembers’
(Faith & Industry)   Single/27th March 2020


Oxford-based polymath Sebastian Reynolds has finally found the time in his prolific schedule of collaborations, remixes, session work and productions to create his very own solo soundtrack of various inspired peregrinations. The Universe Remembers quintet drifts and wafts across an ambiguous, often vaporous soundscape of neo-classical composition, retro futurist production, swanned Tibetan mystical jazz, both languid and accelerated running breakbeats, and ghostly visitations – haunted narrated extracts from T.S. Eliot’s all-encompassing philosophical, religious and metaphysical Holy Grail purview The Wasteland, can be heard in fuzzy echo on the featured title-track single.

A cosmological junction of dystopian literature and Buddhist Eschatology, The Universe Remembers is, as you might expect from a composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer who’s created music as varied as the transcendent Southeast Asian Manīmekhalā score that accompanied the multimedia Mahajanaka Dance Drama and the visceral chamber pieces of his collaboration with the pan-European Solo Collective trio, the evocations are simultaneously as dreamy as they are ominous and mysterious.

A guest producer on the premiere track we’re hosting today, Capitol K has lent his skills before to Seb’s work as a remixer. His Faith & Industry label, the platform for Capitol K’s output as well as luminaries such as previous Monolith Cocktail albums of the year entrant John Johanna and Champagne Dub, is facilitating the release of this EP. Ahead of the 22nd May 2020 release date, Seb has kindly agreed to share that twinkled trembled cascaded piano and slow beat vaporous turn tumultuous reversal title-track. Featuring the ambiguous mystical fluttering, spiraling and drifting clarinet of Rachel Coombes, and a penchant for the glitch-y piano resonance of Susumu Yokota, this traverse wafts between the snake charmer bazaars of Egypt and Calcutta, the Hitchcockian, and avant-garde.

Expect to be enticed into a wonderfully amorphous soundscape of trance, esoteric mysticism, trip-hop, new age, satellite jazz and the poetic.








Background:

Following his formative years leading premier UK cult musical ensembles the Keyboard Choir and Braindead Collective, Sebastian has more latterly made a name for himself with the modern classical trio Solo Collective in which he performs with German chamber musicians Alex Stolze and Anne Müller (Erased Tapes) and the Thai/Anglo dance and music show Mahajanaka Dance Drama that he scored and produced. The Universe Remembers is a distillation of these various musical inclinations, from the distorted crescendos of tracks such as the elegiac, otherworldly ‘Everest’, evoking the digital climaxes of the Keyboard Choir, to the deft use of clarinet on the title track and the swooning saxophone melodies of ‘You Are Forgotten’ evoking the retro futurism of the Blade Runner score and nodding to the post-jazz interests of the Braindead Collective. The vocal samples on the title track are from T.S. Elliot’s epic poem The Waste Land and they represent Sebastian’s ongoing interest in dystopian contemporary literature, as previously heard on the Catch 22 based piece ‘Ripeness Is All’ (featured on Solo Collective Part 2). EP opener ‘Amoniker’ calls to mind Boards of Canada’s use of tape-warped samples and stuttering rhythms. The Universe Remembers is Sebastian’s first solo release aside from the dance score commissions and it certainly serves as a further glimpse into the inner workings of a prolific, wide ranging and unpredictable music creator.

Previous releases include the two Solo Collective albums, Part 1 (November 2017) and Part 2 (June 2019), both released through Alex Stolze’s imprint Nonostar, and two EPs from the Mahajanaka Dance Drama Thai project, Mahajanaka (April 2017) via Nonostar again, and Maṇīmekhalā (October 2019) via his own PinDrop label and PR company. Sebastian’s projects have had glowing critical acclaim from across the media, and received airtime across the BBC and far beyond.




The Monolith Cocktail is now on the micro-donation payment hub Ko-Fi:

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect or love for. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated: especially in these most uncertain and anxious times.

PREMIERE
Words: Matt Oliver




Syd Nukuluk  ‘Plasticene (feat. Monika)’
Taken from the upcoming debut EP Data X Change, released on the 24th January 2020 via Slowfoot Records


When a seasonal centrepiece gets caught in Thanksgiving/Christmas crossfire and also flashbacks to The Simpsons episode when Jasper Beardley inadvertently did his part for DIY cryogenics, South London fever dreamer Syd Nukuluk presents the off-the-wall video for the eye-catching urban disturbia of ‘Plasticene’. A bit of Soundgarden, ‘Black Hole Sun’ eye-widening thrown into the mix as well from the blown brains of ones-to-watch Luke Kulukundis and Arthur Studholme, French-British emcee and poultry enemy #1 Monika becomes a symbol of modern times while rewriting the mantra of protect your neck, lightheartedness succumbing to deathly, deafening undertones.

‘Plasticene’ is released as part of the debut five-track Data X Change EP, a lo-fi quintet of synapse-firing electronica pushing indie, R&B and hip-hop to a shadowy left, on January 24th via the Slowfoot imprint.





Find the Data X Change EP via Bandcamp

Or through the following:


Slowfoot Website

Syd Nukuluk Website

Premiere
Words: Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea





A couple of weeks ago we at Monolith gave the Storm the Palace Delicious Monster LP a well deserved rave review as the album is both beautiful, cheeky and a little dirty. So I am pleased that they have sent us their latest video-single, ‘Clive’, as an exclusive treat, a video that is entertaining, beautiful, cheeky and a little dirty. In fact a video that introduces potted plant porn to the world.

The Edinburgh indie Baroque folk outfit have this to say about their pot plant swingers’ new video:

The video follows the story of the song’s protagonist – a morally bankrupt cheese plant named Clive. We were inspired by 1970s films of excess, pretension and indulgence, such as La Grande Bouffe, Abigail’s Party and the soft-porn classic, Emmanuelle.

 

So ladies and gentlemen please feast your eyes your ears and your loins to the beautiful sights and sounds of Storm The Palace and ‘Clive’, a song taken from their forthcoming Delicious Monster album (released on the 4th October 2019). A must own LP of 2019 I might add.




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