What is “Maść na wszy“? Would you believe me if I said it means ointment forlice and this is the title to the single for Monument Zero. Darek Jackowski (wind instruments), Łukasz Bejnar (laptop) and Tomek Osiński (vocals) are based in Wroclaw, Poland creating their own style of electronic music.
Labelled a paramedical romance, the wind instrument sounds like it is being strangled to death while electronic servos work overtime, and eviscerating noise gives the semblance of a jazz war zone in a factory. The vocals are stark against the melancholia of the saxophone and fluctuating buzzing.
Oddly satisfying with all these elements together, culminating into something that by all rights, should pull itself apart at the seams and yet seems to be actually quite cohesive. I say electronic crossed with jazz and beat poetry might be my best stab at eloquently describing Monument Zero’s style, and this is lice removing mood music.
IDM or intelligent dance music can sometimes be a confusing title for some. It often isn’t really danceable but rather electronic music that experiments with electronic rhythm by creating all the noise within the structure called music. For more than decade, Tapage from Hilversum in the Netherlands, has been creating electronic ambient music and May saw the release of his new album Recover, out on the label, PointSource Electronic Arts.
The first piece is “Test“, a low tonal number that tentatively reaches out towards you before the clicks begin. Like a radio, with someone flicking through without any discernible channels, just spurts of static that chirp away. “114120A11” even though electronic, makes me think of a dark, tranquil forest in prehistoric times, where insects talk to each other and large bird like creatures call out in the canopy, filled with the beat of life.
A darker turn with “Begin“, deep and ringing with those clicks and snaps that Tapage has in spades. Next could be mistaken as a performance piece on harp, that has gone horribly wrong, warped chimes flood your senses. “We Will Become” has an apocalyptic, horror ambience….. possibly otherworldly.
Almost like stars blinking in and out in the night sky comes “Prolog“. It does give the impression aliens are trying to control us and then transmission just stops. “Peepsqueek” is a multitude of squeaks that culminate in a rhythm vortex, perhaps inferring to drum and bass.
A dreamscape of space. Not so much out of space but the general term when it comes to “Able To NSet“. There are the clicks and whirs but also a lightness and expanse. The eighth track is “Ancient Tiger Proton” and it features Access To Arasaka, who fit in perfectly, also known for dark experimental ambient, that compliments Tapage’s. This feels epic and austere in a way, like you are walking the halls of the gods.
The last three tracks are remixes. Experimental artist, Klunks, re-imagines “We All Became“, that burbles along like a cosmic stream. “Able ToNSet” is broken down by The Fellow Passenger, to a wandering, ethereal quality. The last remix is by Tapage, of the track “Test“, which has developed wings it seems, elevated from the drone, though that aspect it still present.
I’m never going to say I’m an expert at electronic music but in essence it’s the visceral reaction that counts. This is technically good but it’s also touching you at another level, with how it makes you feel without words to paint a picture and that’s always very special. Recover isn’t going to be for everyone but I’m also very sure Tapage know this as well and sometimes it is worth going out of your comfort zone to experience something that will take you unexpected places.