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Momentum

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Albenrezension

Electronic dance music has been plenty vulnerable to stumbling into thorny rockist traps. A lot of the commonplace principles — innovation over tradition, timeliness over timelessness, 12" over LP, anonymity over ego — run directly against the rock rulebook, yet a phrase like "the early stuff is the best" or "this couldn't possibly top [insert title of debut]" is frequently used without much thought, as an offhanded dismissal of a later work. Momentum, Monolake's fifth album, will unfortunately fall victim to this shortsightedness. Admittedly, it's not as groundbreaking or as crushing as the early singles collected on Hongkong — though it's easily the most accomplished and bracing release that had come since then. For the sake of fairness, there's plenty to admire in the output that bridges Hongkong to this; when strung together, Interstate, Gravity, and Cinemascope present an uninterrupted succession of pinpoint-precise tracks that establishes and hones a specific sound that no one else could possibly clone. The key word is admire; admiring those albums is easy enough, but the forbidding tendencies have a way of placing the listener at a distance. Within the space of these 70 minutes, Robert Henke continually finds ingenious ways to adjust the steely nature of his productions enough to impress and consume the listener. (The key word is consume.) He's hardly gone soft in order to do this; these nine tracks are as industrious and industrial as ever, and none of them will give you flashbacks to kindergarten seesaw rides. The grip is immediate, taking hold within the first few seconds of "Cern." Its pinging pellets gradually become increasingly hollowed out, morphing from resonant clunks to trebly clanks. Just as alarming is the use of dubspace, with fibrillating rhythmic patterns providing a sense of unstoppable forward movement. Much of what follows is just as tantalizing. While the environments Henke places you in are far from womb-like, they are a lot more likely to draw you in than make you feel trapped.

Biografie

Gegründet: 1995 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Jahre aktiv: '90s, '00s, '10s

Monolake were among the most acclaimed and enduring artists to arise from the Berlin-based Basic Channel/Chain Reaction label group, run by Moritz "Maurizio" von Oswald and home to such champions of minimalist dub-techno austerity as Vainqueur, Substance, and Porter Ricks. Monolake initially consisted of Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles, but Behles departed during the early 2000s to run Ableton, the music software company that both producers established in 1999. For a stretch, Henke was Monolake's...
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Momentum, Monolake
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