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Dave Monolith - Welcome


Dave Monolith is one of the best names I’ve heard in a while. I used to have a regular DJ gig at a provincial Midlands club and the manager was a monolith called Dave. Charming, but a monolith nonetheless, carved from a single slab of granite. You know the type. Come to think of it, I never knew his surname.

The Mr Monolith under inspection herein is apparently Rephlex’s most-downloaded artist from their “fiercely independent” web store. Though whether this is due to sheer, electric talent, or merely a happy by-product of a fiercely unforgiving UI that puts his EP in third place on the first page, I have no idea. Regardless, his fresh take on a familiar sound has clearly struck a chord. Or several chords, played on a vintage synth from Richard D. James’ extensive collection.

Yes, the obligatory AFX reference means we are back in “Braindance” country here. It’s the kind of music that some deluded fools call “Intelligent Dance Music” and this deluded fool once called “electronica” and now holds his counsel. The kind of music that would have blown the entire world’s collective hive-mind had it been released thirty years ago, and then nearly did when it was, ten years later. And the kind of music that might now struggle to fire a single synapse of interest in the hyperactive post-everything brains of anyone who’s ever seen a car advert.

I confess that on first listen it was easy to dismiss “Welcome” as distilled essence of the genre, yuck it up for a few hundred words and move on. After all, I’ve got a special delivery of the latest Global Bass twelves waiting for me at the post office. But the album took a hold of my ears, wormed its way in and ended up a “Welcome” guest (kill me now).

Why? Well, firstly the album slowly reveals a deeply melodic touch, reminiscent of that which made clear the Detroit influence of the early nineties trailblazers. See: “Vortexuer”, which ropes an almost wistful synth to a restless, jerky base for too short a time; or “Farewell Frenchman”, essentially a pop song hyper-produced around a glossy, glitching core. That production is another answer, being cleaner and crisper than the usual, gaining in listenability what it might lose in edge.

But mainly, “Welcome” brings a rare sense of dancefloor-friendliness to a genre which can easily lose itself up a fundament where beats hammer in the hundreds, and the only groove is the deep one stroked in your chin. “My Nunk” is a slow-moving electro heater, and while “Zunker” pulls the old take-no-prisoners hardcore trick of sounding like three tunes smashed into one, with backspins and acid licks all over, it never loses an undercurrent of aquatic ghetto-tech.

“Welcome” might lack the beat-slicing virtuosity of your Viberts and Paradinases, and it is definitely an LP of nuggets from a well-mined seam, but I find myself pleasantly surprised that there’s still ample room in a sound that I might so flippantly have dismissed. Nice one, Dave!

Sam Stagg

Rephlex Records website

Reader Comments (1)

I love bleep43. Thanks for all these wonderful reviews.

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdamien

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