Monochromie – Angels and Demons 7.8
Monochromie represent a natural evolution. It began with Max Richter’s low-key forays into modern classical. Leyland Kirby expanded this palette by placing a greater emphasis on the electronic. What Monochromie does is follow-up on Kirby’s ideas and infuses them with considerable amounts of distortion. At times the levels of distortion are nearly unbelievable. Many times this distortion veers into Mego or even Pita’s emphasis on making classical more dramatic through volume controls.
The beginning of the album is deceptively calm. Monochromie lulls the listener with gentle piano on ‘Skylines’. Things progress into considerably noisier territory from there. ‘A Sunny Afternoon’ is nearly giddy in its absolute hopefulness. It is a happy, bright, colorful piece. ‘Erosion’ is perhaps my favorite piece on the album. Here Monochromie details the effects of slow degradation of the basic loop. In a way this is similar to William Basinski’s disintegration loops. Like William’s work there is an almost romantic quality to the piece’s slow demise. Layers upon layers of distortion and noise are thrown on top yet the piano continues to strive through the static. Another track ‘Undefined Field’ takes a similar approach yet it is low key in nature. Leyland Kirby is directly felt on ‘Frozen Sea’ which sounds directly inspired by him. The slow build and heavy electronic wheezes are reminiscent of Kirby’s work.
‘Angels and Demons’ is a constant struggle between the classical and electronic elements. This pits the organic against the digital. Listening to the struggle between the two separate elements makes it infinitely interesting. Hope neither side ever wins.