Release Date: Mar 13, 2012
Record label: Forced Exposure
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
A little over two years ago, Robert Henke released Silence, the seventh Monolake album and the first in what has recently been revealed as a trilogy of full-length works. The sounds of Silence came with a fragment of writing that provided a cinematic element to that album's lush, delicate atmosphere: "The mountains made me feel light, happy and small … and the gods were with us." Things have certainly changed in 2012 with Ghosts, the second chapter of the trilogy. "How I hate those dirty little flies," reads the text, ostensibly setting the album within a sticky jungle realm.
Some people are doers, and some people are perceivers. Robert Henke, the man behind the roughly 15-year-old Monolake project and the Ableton Live software he utilizes, is both. Not just that: For Henke, perceiving and doing are parts of the same creative process, informing him at every turn. Ghosts came to him as he was daydreaming and concocting a story rich with drama and detail.
Review Summary: How I hate those dirty little flies, impossible to sleep, it is too hot, no wind... and the gods are laughing at usFifteen years into a career and eight albums to show for it seems, on its own, a rather admirable feat, but there’s always been a rather nagging feeling that Robert Henke and the various affiliates he’s aligned himself with have never really been given their proper due. Outside of revolutionizing electronic music with his work on production and performance software, Ableton Live, Monolake’s music has never been a thing to easily grasp, let alone scale.
MonolakeGhosts[Imbalance Computer Music; 2012]By Will Ryan; March 6, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetConversations surrounding Monolake tend to get a little weird. The Berlin minimal techno producer creates a precise type of computer music that approaches Raster Noton-level of refinement. His ends as a musician seem to gravitate toward prestigious production concerns - a painstakingly devoted and academic exploration of the full sonic spectrum - rather than any type of unruly emotional communication.
The eighth Monolake album, and second part of a trilogy, following the lead of 2009's Silence, there's a thick layer of ominousness running through Ghosts. The haunting atmosphere never lightens up, from smaller moments like the Sealab 2021 computer voice saying, "you do not exist" in the opening title track, the ethereal whistling on the fringes of "Tuco" and the Phantom of the Opera organ on "Aligning the Daemon" to the off-kilter filters, intimidating reverb, slightly panicked dub beats and persistent snippets of itchy white noise. What makes the album so effective in its brooding evocations is Robert Henke's attention to detail.