REVIEW: Monokle ‘Saints’
Hailing from St. Petersburg, the eclectic Russian producer currently known as Monokle will be releasing his newest LP, ‘Saints’ on Ki Records. It will be the third full length release for Ki, which in Japanese apparently, means ‘tree’. After listening through the entirety of the LP, that translation only seems fitting with regards to the perplexing, naturalistic sound and ambience that Monokle creates. Surprisingly, for only being 26 years old, this will be his fifth LP released to date. Vlad Kudryavstev, the gifted intellectual behind Monokle, notes that one of his foremost influences when making music is silence, among a multitude of others. Graduating with a degree in psychology, one can grasp where his fondness for pensivity originally rooted from, and when heeding to his productions it is clear how he decisively utilizes tools such as silence and sonic space. Accordingly, he also finds inspiration from IDM and Glitch-centered music. These other influences may come off as a bit uncanny when contrasted with the idea of ‘silence’, seeing as at least one of these styles generally includes a large array of fast paced, multi-layered, high-frequency sounds. Regardless of the varying influences, the end result is something spacious, engaging, and bewitching.
The album, in it’s entirety, is intoxicatingly satisfying - but under a closer watch, the producer has arranged a wide array of vastly contrastive sounds. By no means are they incompatible, which is actually one of the strong characteristics of Monokle’s production abilities. A sizable margin of this culture’s sonic-spectrum is touched upon, explored, and mastered to some extents. Take for instance the fifth track of the album “Slower.” Being just one track, its able to range over an abundance of techniques and schools of thought. Starting as a heavy-hitting club burner, and cohesively transforming over the course of five minutes into synth-washed atmospheres, trance-like domains, and headphone-tripping territories. Just explaining, or attempting to understand this idea comes off as overwhelming yet after listening to it all, “overwhelming” seems to be the last thought on your mind at the time.
With other recordings on the album, other emotions are noticeably scrutinized. The video for “Swan” is an appreciable representation for what the listener might take from the track. Kaleidoscope-esque resonances, and probably his best illustration of ‘silence’. Plenty of headspace his provided, however a sincere tactile sense of fulfillment and opulent sound are to be found with-in. Imagine as if you were falling down what appears to be a bottomless pit in slow-motion, yet you are in complete control and understanding during that experience and know that without a doubt there is a safe ending to it all. (If you can conceive of such a feeling without giving this track a listen, consider yourself a master in meditation.)
The LP is available in most formats, including vinyl. As an added bonus, if you are able to chip out for the vinyl, it comes with some gravely, well-done remixes. Featuring the likes of Fybe:one, WOLS, and Milinal. All have their own takes and interpretations to the originals, and all do a truly splendid job. ‘Saints’ is available November 5th through Ki Records. So until then, you can stream the opening track, “Holt Found” via Monokle’s Soundcloud.