Track Premiere/Album Preview: Dominic Valvona

PHOTO CREDIT: REBECCA HAWLEY

Luke Mawdsley ‘Higher Plains Suffering’

Taken from the upcoming album Luke Two, released on the 29th April by Spine Records

Emerging from a turbulent period of cathartic anxiety, reflection, the Merseyside artist Luke Mawdsley sets his voice free from the “verbasier” programmed-like demons-in-the-head vocal effects of his previous solo album, Vulgar Displays Of Affection, to wander an esoteric and seedy, bloody lyrical vision of the high plains.

Whilst Luke mark one was a masked, warped version; a seething, predatory slurring spoken word mise en scene caught in a miasma of pain, Luke Two lifts the veil a little on a most lurid, sleazy and tortured form of abyss circling sonnets.

It’s a strange, idiosyncratic counterbalance of alien Morricone vibrato and ethereal cooed Western scores and heart of darkness, post-punk guitar wielding and supernatural palpitations that envelops, sustains, Luke’s ‘carnal journeys and poetic excesses’.

Edging into ‘Rosa Mundi’ John Balance and Rosa McDowell territory, Luke’s both shadowed and encircled by the apparition and siren lulls, harmonies of the diaphanous Rachel Nicholas and Gabriella Rose King. Rachel makes an appearance on today’s premiere, Higher Plains Suffering; a surprisingly melodious transmogrification of Alan Vega, Charlie Megira, and Crime And The City Solution (both the Berlin skulk and Western reinvention periods), and the lurid dark comedic descriptive wonderings of Alan Moore, Pompey Jonathan Meades and Scott Walker: “You could do worse then to wear my brains home, in your bonnet”.  

In an alternate dimension, Blood Meridian meets the spacey-reverb indulgences of, as the label Spine Records press notes put it, ‘a shattered libidinal economy’. Rachel’s vapoured tones against Luke’s on this drifter’s meander across mirage terrain sound almost Cohen-like.

Taken from an incredibly lucid, often far more melodic and beautiful then you’d assume, album of incipient stirrings, one person’s purgatory is another’s unconstrained creative paradise. Hallucinatory echoes of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s dream-realism symbolic El Topo share room with otherworldly portals and the all-too real depressive, bleak traps of a run-down, unloved English seaside town. Projecting across a both plaintive and eerie Western panorama, the signature twang and expansive evocations of Morricone, as channeled by the Bad Seeds, Simon Bonney and Hellenica, seem to offer some tenderness to the butcher’s bone and gristle, the blood-in-piss confessionals; the menace and heavier toll of Brian Reitzell and Jóhann Jóhannson’s scores.

The “house of aggressive tailors” scene set ‘Pomegranate Seeds In A Matchbox’ has the cylindrical, grinding machine presence of Liars, or better still, Aaron Hemphill’s Nonpareil, yet also a hint of David Slyvain. Despite what may have come to pass, the search for identity in a hostile, divisive climate, where everyone lives life through the prism of a screen, Luke surpasses the brilliance, morbid curiosity of Vulgar Displays Of Affection with something that approaches a true self: well, at the very least with one layer of morose and demon effects removed.

There’s, as I’ve already mentioned, an esoteric atmosphere. But not in the sense of the gothic, nor true horror: even if the album includes quite suggestive titles, ‘A Butchers Tide’ and ‘Trauma Control’. Because ringing out like a cry, or astral plain observational deck expression from Manuel Göttsching’s guitar are scenic levitations and pleasant twists. The instrumental ‘Citrus Mirror’ brings a sort of levity, a beauty like the desert rose. Shovels dragged across concrete, crushed confidence and useless augurs may say otherwise I know, but there’s something deeply dreamy about this whole album.

Seething tensions and dissonance are pulled into entirely unique realms of realisation, pathos and deranged sexual provocations. Luke Two could just be Mawdsley’s best statement, piece of work yet.  

VIDEO PREMIERE/Dominic Valvona

Mike Gale ‘I’m Really Gone’
Taken from the upcoming Mañana Man album, released 20th May 2022

Although he’s adopting the procrastination title of “Mañana Man”, the former Black Nielson and Co-Pilgrim instigator turn soloist Mike Gale isn’t putting off his talent for capturing the mood with a beautifully, often woozy and wavy disarming musical palette. Releasing a laidback songbook (sometimes two) every year since the early noughties, his latest, and 18th, album sees a slight change in methodology; expanding upon the use of samples from last year’s brilliant Twin Spirit album, Gale returns to more traditional song structures and feel. 

“Twin Spirit was the first album I’d used samples almost exclusively, from the writing process to arrangement of the songs. I really enjoyed this way of working and wanted to carry it on with Mañana Man. Twin Spirit was rather haphazard and more like a collage of sounds in places, so with Mañana Man I was trying to make an album of more traditional sounding pop songs while still utilising samples as the primary method of creating. I still played guitars and Bass etc. on almost half of the songs as well and I think this mix of samples and instruments is where I’m most comfortable.”

Channeling the Wilson Brothers as always like a lo fi Beach Boys serenade of one, Gale’s mañana mood permeates a gentle but deeply felt songbook of wistful dreamy, balmy longing and beachcomber ruminations.

The languorous comforted feels swim in the waters of late 70s Californian troubadours, soft rock, and dream and surf pop. Swaddled ‘Pumpkin Feet’ leave traces in the sand to the sound of The Flaming Lips, Lionlimb, Panda Bear, Ned Doheny, Gene Clark, Harry Nilsson and The Cry. That title-track is a lovely tropical, semi-Cuban instrumental with a surprising nod to Henri-Pierre Noel’s piano led Hispaniola dances, whilst ‘How Long’ seems to evoke the washed-out vibes of epic45.

Gale however reaches for both the stars (on the Spector Christmas album-style lilted ‘A Place Of Going To The Stars’) and heavens (on the harp-laced, mirrored and sweetened ethereal ‘You’re My Hand Glide’) from that beachfront escape.

Taken from that driftwood lullaby and flange-wash retune of a beautiful album, the Monolith Cocktail is premiering the video for the cosy ‘I’m Really Gone’. Perhaps casting veils of nostalgic locations and surrealism over a trippy ripple of lucid, hazed sadness, Gale dons a poodle mask whilst floating, bending to a psychedelic dream: imagine a kaftan wearing Carl Wilson fronting Morgan Delt or the Animal Collective. A waltzing couple, images of the Trevi Fountain and a park underpass form a background for the band – all Mike Gale I assume -, as the music melts; soaking up all the grief and malady.

Mañana Man is due out on the 20th May. You can pre-order it now via Gale’s Bandcamp page. Expect to see it included in our end-of-year recommendations, but sooner than that, a summer essential. 

WORDS: Dominic Valvona

Credit: Niccolo Berretta

Mai Mai Mai Ft. Vera di Lecce ‘Fimmene Fimmene’
Released through Maple Death Records ahead of the May released album Rimorso

Drawn once more towards the Apulia corner of Italy’s deep south – the jiggered stiletto-like heel of the country’s roughly contoured boot – the Italian experimental electronic and noise artist Mai Mai Mai conjures up another extraordinary vision of gothic ethnological collective toil and ethereal voiced mirages with his brand new single.

Premièred ahead of the ‘colossal’ double-album Rimorso (released 20th May) ‘Fimmene Fimmene’ summons up the spirited protestations of the women labouring in the tobacco fields as part of an extended sonic and vocal psychogeography of Italy’s southern Mediterranean regions. Following in the wake of previous scopes in this area, Mai Mai Mai’s signature blend of southern Italian folklore, industrial drone, proto-techno and punishing miasmic electronica is wiped clean, the heavy sampling and sound manipulations of the past shed with a focus now on the human. And so, as this intoxicating invocation proves, the collaborative door is left wide open to an array of mostly fellow Italian foils, contributors who use both their voices and instruments to transform and investigate Italy’s past and traditions. Step right up the Salento siren priestess Vera di Lecce whose incredible translucent wraith evocations channel not just the traditional but the supernatural and the magical too. A vocal and dance performance member of the lauded ethnic electrifying ensemble Nidi d’Arac turn prolific soloist with a penchant for making magical aggressive synth and exotic percussive potions, and practitioner of the age-old dances of the Apulia, now recasts one of its protest songs as Mai Mai Mai lays down a reverberated pronounced drum beaten march, haunted and scented atmospherics and crystal synthesised shimmers, sparkles.

A two-way mirror between worlds; a communion with troubled souls, ‘Fimmene Fimmene’ is a beautiful hallucination of the mysterious and sorrowful, which you can now experience for yourselves:

The inaugural single from the upcoming double-album is just one piece of a greater work that sees the noted artist morph our understanding of traditions and nostalgia.

An album of deep re-interpretive connective Italian collaborations – with the exceptions of the brilliant maverick Mike Copper, on ‘Mediterranean Gothic’, and the Beirut-born Youmna Saba, on the thematic ‘Nostalgia’ –  Mai Mai Mai revisits a piece by the Puglia polyphony voiced female quartet Faraulla with the Rome-based techno-outsider Cosimo Damiano and percussionist ensemble Ars Ludi, on the track ‘Sind’; invites Nziria to hover over the slow thump chopper pulsating techno serenade ‘Musica Nova’, a loosely based vision of the Musicanova orchestra’s own ‘Pizzica Minore’. The album is bookended by the visceral voice of electro-Arabian-punkster Maria Violenza (the solo project alias of the Rome-based Cristina Cusimano), on the obscure folk transformation, reconfigured as a southern gothic mix of enchanted filtered choir and hypnotic voodoo drumming, ‘Secondo Coro Delle Lavandaie’, and ‘Antiche Memorie’, which features longtime Franco Battiato foil, the percussionist and composer Lino Capra Vaccina

Rimorso promises to be a whole ‘new ritual’ that turns absence into presence; dismantling nostalgia for consummation, framed as an immersion into the ‘temporal disjunction we are experiencing through the essence of (the) human fabric’. You can order that album here.

Mai Mai Mai also has the following dates set-up for a April tour with GNOD:

Apr 6th – GENT @ TREFPUNT
Apr 7th – UTRECHT @ DB’s
Apr 8th – PARIS @ ESPACE B
Apr 9th – NANTES @ LES ATELIERS DE BITCHE
Apr 11th – LYON @ LE SONIC
Apr 12th – ZURICH @ HELSINKI
Apr 13th – GENEVE @ LA CAVE12
Apr 15th – RAVENNA @ BRONSON
Apr 16th – VERONA @ COLORIFICIO KROEN
Apr 17th – NOVA GORICA @ MOSTOVNA
Apr 18th –  LJUBLJANA @ GALA HALA
Apr 19th – WIEN @ CHELSEA
Apr 20th – BRNO @ KABINET MUZ
Apr 21st – PRAHA @ UNDERDOGS
Apr 22nd – BERLIN @ URBAN SPREE
Apr 25th – BRUXELLES @ MAGASIN 4
Apr 26th – BREDA @ MEZZ
Apr 27th – LILLE @ LA MALTERIE

Mai Mai Mai is the nom de plume of Toni Cutrone, occasional foil of GNOD and one of both Italy and the wider EU’s most well known experimental artists. Highly prolific, Toni’s released music through Boring Machines, Yerevan Tapes, Not Not Fun, God Unknown, Instruments Of Discipline, La Tempesta International and now the Maple Death label, and worked with a myriad of artists that includes Lina Capra Vaccina, Luciano Lamanna, go Dugong and Maria Violenza. There’s also been various music scores for documentaries, short movies and a project with the fashion house Gucci.    

Photo Credit: Niccolo Berretta

PREMIERE SPECIAL/Dominic Valvona

In partnership with our Italian pen pals at Kalporz, both our sites have been chosen to simultaneously premiere the opening peregrination from the new collaboration between Antonio Raia & Renato Fiorito: the Thin Reactions album.

Eighteen minutes long, and taking up the entire A-side of that upcoming album ‘Too Many Reasons’ sees the amorphous saxophonist improviser and sound artist join together to capture the abstract atmospheres of cerebral reconnection; a sonic field in which to escape the stresses and weight of the pandemic.

Produced in lockdown, in the partnership’s native Napoli, this imagined space, in which a faded, fuzzy pining and wandering saxophone wafts around a rotated motorised humming and propeller purred windy and airy isolated soundtrack, brings together two experimental composers looking to create an ‘intimate and visceral experience’.

Although crossing paths years ago on site-specific performances and movie soundtracks, this traverse in tonal soundscapes marks the duo’s first fully released album together. They’ve chosen to deliver it on the new Italian label Non Sempre nuoce; the focus of which is on the burgeoning Neapolitan underground scene, covering, as the PR notes state, the city’s ‘post-clubbing music’, ‘Mediterranean retro sonorities’ and everything in-between.

Almost haunting in places, with field recordings that sound like a mysterious cyclonic desert, hinged fuzzes, vapours, fluted ambiguous regional sax and subtle little bursts of fizzled sonics are the only interruptions in this secluded landscape.

This is how the duo themselves describe this album venture: ‘Thin Reactions is an album consisting of sounds coming from invisible cities and intimate landscapes. It is a sonic trip you can take through a sensory experience. It is music that allows you to take a deep breath.’

You can now experience that immersive soundtrack below.

The Thin Reactions album will be released on the 29th October via the Non Sempre nuove imprint.

Premiere/Dominic Valvona

Abir Patwary ‘Atmosphere’
15th October 2021

Regular readers and followers alike will know that the Monolith Cocktail takes pride in showcasing burgeoning new artists. And so with today’s premiere/track-by-track preview we’re delighted to exclusively present the new EP by the Oxford-based Spanish/Bangladeshi singer Abir Patwary, who combines his South Asian and European roots with modern electronic R&B, soul and emotive swelled pop.  

With production shared (almost) between the L.A. producer/songwriter Nick Nittoli and the ever reliable Oxford producer/musician Mike Bannard, Patwary’s five-track Atmosphere EP crisscrosses the Atlantic with a sound that’s further expanded by the talents of viola player Joshua Piero, vocalist Mel Austin and rapper André Jahnoi.

Driven by themes of isolation, belonging and connection, Patwary lyrically fluctuates between storytelling and an expressive pull of emotions: “music has been a way for me to express the truest version of myself. I have a deep connection with storytelling, and stories have always made me feel like I belonged and that I wasn’t alone.”  

PHOTO CREDIT: OLIVER HOLMS

Here’s a track-by-track breakdown of that EP:

Never Do’ – Opening with this summer’s single, the slow-paced and purposeful, tune features the soft harmonies of Mel Austin, who shadows Patwary’s “laconic”, slightly warble effected lead. Inspired by the war themed, and revisionist fantasies, of The Man In The High Castle and Broken Sky trilogy, Patwary yearns whilst the music dips and sways.

And exclusive ‘extended’ version, with added Ghost Poet via toasting raga lines from the British/Jamaican artist André Jahnoi, is also included on the EP.

‘Avalon’ – No not a cover of Brian Ferry’s slow dance but a slice of “crisp” brooding R&B with South Asian melodies style single, produced by L.A. producer of note, Nick Nittoli. Lyrically longing for that magical destiny, ‘Avalon’ feature’s the artist’s recurring theme of belonging: finding one’s tribe. It’s also another song that includes Patwary’s storytelling mix of the mythical and earthy.

‘Heir’ showcases Patwary’s love for cinematic and orchestral music, featuring, as it does, the light but emotive chamber pop viola tones of Joshua Piero. Once more imbued with the lyrics of mythology and also referencing the “tribe”, he soulfully aches with a certain defiance over subtle, but deeply felt, electronic beats and a romantic(ish) filmic soundtrack.

‘Mun’: An “arresting song of redemption” that features a zombified metaphor, aimed at all our most cruel, mindless failings, ‘Mun’ incorporates both that cool L.A. vibe of giddy sped up effects, bump and thud bass, and the march of more militaristic drummed snare.

You can now hear the full Atmosphere EP for a limited time before its official release on Friday 15th October below:

Violet Nox  ‘Haumea Video’
Taken From The Whispering Galaxy EP (Infinity Vine Records)

Pretty much encapsulated in the title of the Boston-based synth collective’s fourth and most recent EP, Whispering Galaxy proved to be just that: a dreamy, ethereal chorus of hushed, diaphanous whispery voices, emanating from and sending out a siren’s choral voice across an expansive galaxy.

Whilst previous releases have been slightly disorientating with ominous visions of futurism and unearthly cybernetics, the encouraging Whispering Galaxy featured glimpses of mid-90s Bowie, Brian Reitzell and countless dreamy, synth-pop inspirations, and the cooed promise of sweet ‘somethings’ to the awe, mystique and trepidation of a space beyond our reach. From that EP’s wispy, airy depths, the mythical and planetary inspired ‘Haumea’ is given a reactive display of liquid, wavy and vibrating synthetic abstract visuals by the artistChris Konopka.

On the almost spiritually voiced ‘Haumea’, Violet Nox’s spacecraft hurtles through a trippy, warped sonic vortex of echoed industrial gnarled guitar, various fusions, generator knocks, bauble tight delayed bounces and ticks towards a dwarf planet, located just beyond Neptune’s orbit. Named after the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth, and only discovered in 2004, Haumea inspires a suitable enough galaxy quest soundscape; one in which the Nox seem to turn off the engines and just drift towards in a suspended state of aria vocalized homage aboard the Tangerine Dream spaceship; a craft that’s also shared by Orbital and the Future Sound Of London.

Collective instigator, guitarist, sonic effects manipulator, synth player, lyricist and vocalist on a number of the EP’s tracks, Dez DeCarlo worked and reworked over and over ‘Haumea’ with fellow Violet Nox members Andrew Abrahamson (credited with playing a majority of the instruments alongside Dez, but under the mysterious, ambiguous description of ‘synthesis and clocked machines’ provider) and Fen Rotstein (vocals, turntables, Synth-Traktor, Native Instruments S4 Mk II on three of the EP’s tracks). Contributing remotely, were organ/synth player and siren Karen Zanes, and Noell Dorsey, of the band Major Stars fame, who provided the lead vocals.

Dez DeCarlo: ‘Haumea went through many formats to become the final song. It took months to write during the pandemic. I was definitely influenced by the magical energy of the goddess Haumea and it’s also a dwarf planet. I love astronomy!’

Premiered today by the Monolith Cocktail, you can experience it below:

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.

Everest Magma ‘Nues’
Taken from the upcoming album Nuova Abduzione, released by Maple Death Records, 18th June 2021

Creating off-world experiments and visitations by ambiguous life forms, the underground Italian electronic composer Everest Magma takes a ‘small leap’ into the void on his new upcoming album for the Maple Death Records label this month. 

After various cross-fertilizations of hypnotic tape beats, digital wonk, psych folk tropicalia and kinetic dub for the obscure but esteemed Italian Boring Machines imprint (created both under the Magma Everest and Rella The Woodcutter monikers), the exploratory artist is now mining an uncharted cosmos of repetitive minimalism, alien tonal ambience and blissful abyss on the latest album of incipient and astral uncertainties, Nuova Abduzione: or, ‘new abductions’.

Like some vision of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama, the imaginative soundscapes on this kosmische imbued metallic machine resonating album suggests contact with extraterrestrials; meetings aboard beaming cylindrical orbiting space crafts on other planets; whole worlds in fact. Those mysterious entities either loom, hover, slither or bobble up to the surface of a liquid primal soup: on the opening alien ghost ship communication ‘Yloth’, tentacles thrash out along a whispered twittering corridor on some UFO cylinder.   

Magma pushes the envelope, searching in the pursuit of widening his own knowledge so that the knowable and familiar becomes…well, not so knowable and familiar. Broadening horizons, circumnavigating the expanses of deep space with only his trusty Roland Sp-404 sampler workstation, he magic’s up mirror-y and chrome mirage visions, evaporating atmospheres, crystallizations and majestic drifts. Ahead of that album’s release on the 18th June this year, the Monolith Cocktail has been specially chosen to premiere the untethered cosmic courier flight ‘Nues’. With generator melodic vaporous hints of prime Tangerine Dream, subtle reverberating and Geiger counter knocks and light warped staggers this refined but melodious swelling example of astral-minimalism is a perfect encapsulation of the artist’s craft: the enormity of space made simultaneously ominous and majestic.

You can pre-order Nuova Abduzione on the label’s site now.    

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.

Première/Dominic Valvona
Photo Credit: Helen Messenger

Kid Kin ‘Under A Cloud Of Fret’

Making good on his previous, eponymously entitled, EP from 2018, the Oxfordshire based producer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Lloyd now spans ever widening cinematic quality skylines and emotions on his forthcoming Discompose release. From that Kid Kin ascribed EP of new suites the considered composer has already showcased the airy and blissful slowly released ‘Control’, featuring the lulled almost breathless vocals of guest artist The Bobo: A diaphanous vaporous highlight with wisped veils of both the Chromatics and Cocteau Twins.

Following in that single’s vapour trail (released just last week) is the EP’s opener and second single, the gorgeous climbing piano patter and chimed dreamwave meets a far less earnest post-rock swelled, ‘A Cloud Of Feet’. Accompanying that filmic quality emphatic track is today’s premiere video; beautifully crafted by Sarah Hoyle, who with tactile skill and subtle sensibilities captures the anxious and fretting themes and sincerity perfectly and imaginatively: from a scrabbled clouded fog of anxiety and the feelings of isolation to finding relief on calmer seas, navigated into a safe harbor towards less burdensome mental fatigue. 

As Hoyle explains: “The initial concept came from the song title, thinking about someone who’s clouded by anxiety and isolation. But to show how making a human connection to someone who’s able to relate can bring some relief and strength to weather the storms. I wanted the animation to be hand-drawn with texture and movement to give those feeling as well.”

The Discompose, which means to disturb or agitate someone, is nothing of the like musically; as the two remaining slowly revealed suites will testify. Under a ‘Heron Sky’ the Kid plays subtly with classical tones and synthesized threads and undulating and bobbed electronic toms on a track that evokes both a certain majesty and gravitas. ‘Last Dance At The Nave’ suggests the ecclesial and an air of the romantic, but moves gracefully across a similar build up of strings and held but skittish synthesized kinetics until reaching a final static override. 

Ambitious scale electronica with a small ‘a’, Kid Kin’s latest grand work is highly sophisticated, deep and beautifully composed, with each track reaching for the slow release of light.

Discompose is due out later this month on the 24th June. The ‘Under A Cloud Of Fret’ single was released on the 27th May.

About today’s premiered artist:

Kid Kin has released a string of acclaimed singles, remixes and EPs. He has toured the UK and supported luminaries such as Public Service Broadcasting and Haikut Salut and appeared at UK festivals such as Are You Listening? (Reading), Audioscope (Oxford), Threshold Festival (Liverpool) and A Carefully Planned Festival (Manchester).

Crab Costume ‘Disaster’
One half of the double-A-side single ‘Betterer/Disaster’ (Boo Boo Love Records) 14th Mat 2021

Cupid strikes a bum note on today’s premiere; offering not affections, love, but a cold shrug of incredulity. As the resigned soul singer, and one half of the Crab Costume collaboration, Asher Dust plaints: “Just found out that cupid’s a liar”.

A slice of trip-y electronic neo-soul, the second part of a split single from the transatlantic duo of Oxford-based Asher and the British-born, now based in NYC, producer, beat maker Mars Kestrel, ‘Disaster’ is a doleful sore account of broken down love: “What’s the point, this love is done”.

Sitting alongside the more neon R&B and down low bass wobbled ‘Betterer’, this moody piece of subtly placed beats, plucked vague exoticism and rock music resonance is a mix of Massive Attack, a winding TV On The Radio and Tricky; with vocals that swing between Lee Fields, Bobby Womack and Finley Quaye.

Both partners in this fruitful enterprise were previously members of the ‘legendary’ hip-hop outfit Big Speakers, so have form. On this idiosyncratic venture they interlace trip-hop, leftfield rap with soul, down beats, electronica and the sometimes psychedelic.

Betterer/Disaster’ is released through the duo’s own imprint, Boo Boo Records, on the 14th May 2021. You can now hear the latter premiere ahead of that date below:

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.

Field Kit ‘Don’t’
(Nonostar Records)

Cinematic electro-acoustic music with a small ‘c’, filled with gravitas and a hunger to stir the emotions, the Field Kit collective pairing of its central force and instigator, the Berlin-based composer-musician Hannah von Hübbenet, and her collaborative foil, the pianist-producer John Gürther, create mini filmic scenes and atmospheres together on the group’s eponymous debut album for Alex Stolze’s burgeoning imprint Nonostar.

Possibly the first album on the celebrated polymath’s label that doesn’t include Stolze’s magnetic tender collaborative skills (previous releases on the roster include the violinist, composer, songwriter and producer’s own solo work alongside his collaborative efforts with Anne Müller and Sebastian Reynolds on the Solo Collective, and with repeated foil Ben Osborn), Field Kit are nevertheless in a similar sort of neo-classical orbit to their label partner’s merger of strings imbued by centuries of swelling heartache and travail, voices and synthesised instrumentation effects.

Former students of both the Universität der Künst in Berlin and the Filmakademie Baden-Württemburg, violinist Hannah and pianist John now draw on that study for their inaugural adroitly blended album of ‘warm acoustic(s)’ and more ominous, incipient ‘cold mechanical’ movements and shadows: A sound that is described as ‘cyber-noir’.

Those cinematic qualities are in evidence throughout, with hints of Scott Walker’s late soundtrack work and also Johann Johansson’s on the almost bestial, caged and chained combative subterranean, hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck-raiser, ‘Human Behavior’. You can hear a touch of both Mica Levi and Jed Kurzel on the heightened mourned strings yearn ‘String Adrift’. There’s a sense that unforeseen forces are ready to emerge from the duo’s conjured atmospherics; perhaps something otherworldly or horrifying, or something from another age, coming out of the mists – I thought for some reason of a Viking longship on the solemn opening crackled piece ‘Distant Approach’.  Haunted coos, the vibrating resonance of finger bowls and a semblance of a removed Orientalism meanwhile permeate the plucked, dust trickled ‘Counterfeit’, whilst ‘Motorized Piano’ opens up the instrument’s inner workings and the movement of time for an almost clandestine thriller – the slow release UNCLE like drums roll in to set the pace; a race across a metro platform.

The single track we’re concentrating on however, and premiering the video of ahead of the album’s release next month, is the ethereal but fragile finale ‘Don’t’. Affected sighs, and sometimes heart aching strings, lunar synth and a gauze of electro-pop plaint form a bed for the manipulated vulnerable repeated vocals on a filmic score that borders on both trip-hop and the classical. Go now and immerse yourselves in this magical diaphanous suite from the collective.

Field Kits debut album is due out on the 4th June 2021 through Nonostar Records. You can order it now through the label’s Bandcamp page. You can now buy and download the single ‘Don’t’ from today.

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.

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