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act 102 · monokrom · cd

tracklist:
| bgf | src | ebg | wrs | tqa | uxb | caa | jlf | bqf | pnw | eox |

exclusive track | ggt | available as free mp3 via www.ant-zen.com/monokrom

hostile inorganic atmospheres are interrupted sharply by merciless distorted beats - a subliminal war has erupted. floating drones, full of fear, taking your mind, a feeling of subliminal threat. fragments of voices and strange sounds are up to destroying the thin layer of socialisation. machine gun salvos, cries of death, and again and again unidentified voices from places not known to man. silence. [monokrom]

dark atmospheres aggravate to cold, sheer fear; the ultimate threat. massive beats, torn to shreds by metal splinters, subfrequent sequences, metallic echoing, herald the advance of an inorganic intelligence without hurry, though victory is near. the sound of machines flows into noise. distorted beats are hailing down like a storm. mercilessly tormenting and mistreating. the embodiment of numb. silence. [monokrom]

file under "harsh rhythm dark ambient"

reviews:

re:mote induction
bgf : bgf starts the monokrom album off well, building a mass that mixes a droning intensity with smooth melodic motions. winds swirl through the notes which are picked from the vibrating maelstrom. building steadily and convincingly in an encompassing manner, echoing loops washing from the central impact. a vibe forms, which for me is comparable to certain material by starfish pool.
src : following from bgf we have the swirling mists of src, hollow and cold, haunted by distorted voices. into this a pulsing rhythm comes, building in and out. with a critical mass reached this becomes a line of bristling and snapping electronics providing something of a fierce percussive effect. the foreground crushes on with layers continuing beneath it chattering voices, and constant detailed texture. the sheer intensity of src is likely to put some off but in other ways it is a little captivating.
ebg : a metallic loop seems to fade through ebg till it gains a presence. a vocal sample loops and layers into this followed by a hard bass ridge. space open and air sucked into void, closed they fill with fluid, through which ominousnes swims. there is something feral building in this edge filled piece, a sense that is maintained as ebg continues.
wrs : with the buzzing bass jettison and siren conclusion of ebg we move on to the clumping beat of wrs. dreamy special sounds filter through the first layer, lending momentarily an impression of silk saw and a darker templegarden's. these effects wander like ghosts with a regular pulse structure coming like bubbles from the deep. triggered by an onslaught of machine beats. chugging while other sounds swell within, mixing back and forth between the ghost rituals of machine code and hard dynamism of machine action. wrs always sticks out as the monokrom track with a modicum of dance floor potential. tqa : whining waspishness leads to tga. strokes fill moments, leading to a hesitance and additional clump beat and metallic chiming. hammer strokes leading to chromatic pulsed contacts. through this a rumble builds, of storm gathering with which the whine is increasingly populated by choking hostility. leading to screeching squelching, assault and fatigue - a care free noise construct. uxb : uxb follows in a subdued fashion with a repeating 0/1 of bass tone. scraping metallics are drawn out and sparked. the first tone building with a more sinister bass and increasingly fizzing elements. past 3 minutes with a dark atmosphere maintained and increased we can start to hear voices added to the mix. with conclusion uxb spikes in a painful manner. caa : voices rumble into caa, mixing with echoes, electronic intensity and tapping loops. a certain level of pulsing loops n rhythmic fashion mixing with squealing tape scratching. caa mixes a level of catchiness with less accessible elements - verging on distortion, but remaining controlled. jlf : a vibrating edgy loop leads into jlf, with a little vocal noise mixed in. thumps and whines come in to add more detail. reverberations and gongs give an expansive feel, tinged with grandeur. while electronics add a sense of menace to the atmosphere - the whole working well to give a strong sound. the flow of this piece keeps it consistently strong but varied enough that it keeps moving on. bqf : metallic strokes cycle, then distort into a rumbling, near rhythmic loop. other sounds come in to increase the percussive impression and create a sense of a wind tunnel environment. increasingly the layers multiply leading to a huge sound mass that hits you like a landslide. bgf is a chaotic noise piece, overloading structures. pnw : pnw is a bristling tape loop of squealing metal. similarly harsh loops mix and we have a bristling barrage of antagonism. voices mix through the core, but from the start to finish it is the squealing hostility that is the foreground. eox : high drones and tapping echoed beats are the first sounds of eox. a buzz comes in, rising then falling off in oscillating shifts. this is layered soundscape with a sense of random percussion elements. while the core is mostly smooth, with a whirring edge the beats have a certain clattered discord. progressing the discord becomes increasingly present on levels building to a final conclusion.

the new empire
one comment at the beginning: monokrom is not easy to listen to. the label calls it "harsh rhythm dark ambient" and well - it's exactly what you can expect from this album. the overall atmosphere is very depressing and a nightmarish interpretation of modern technology. sounds and noise-particles are cleverly used to raise acoustical pictures of devastation and the apocalypse. but here the four horsemen come on legs made of metal and they don't use archaic horses but fierce killing machines made of steel. it is not really easy to talk of a single track here. first all the tracks have weird names, three almost randomly selected letters put together, so i guess the approach to let the music "speech" seems to be more obvious then on most other released albums in this genre. still it is not a real concept-album where every track fades into the next one but i think you can consider it as a complete piece of work that would be destroyed by the approach to extract single tracks as highlights. the tracks are very different to each other, but all have something in common: the instrumental arrangements of sheer terror. they are very confusing and i cannot listen to this album before i want to go to bed, because it makes aggressive and pushes me instead of calming me down. but one special track i want to mention because it impressed me most: on track 4 the machine really awakes. a mechanical scream starts an inferno of laser-fire and machineguns and it seems to be the soundtrack for the scenes from the terminator movies when the last remnants battle against blood-thirsty killer-androids. but in the version of monokrom there seems to be no saviour by a friendly cyborg travelling through time... another really nice effect can be listened to on track number six: the sounds can be interpreted as different things: a chainsaw, a plane loosing altitude very fast, a racing car...whatever, it keeps your fantasy busy and adequate scenes of slaughter and panic will rise before your inner eye when the additional mixed-in dispatch-messages increase the intensity of this scenario. expect very heavy music here, in my opinion not easy to listen to. you have to work with this album, you have to listen to it several times until you can understand it and even then you will find to much hooks and edges to just consume it like others. it is an album like a dum-dum bullet. it enters your body, is smashed into bits, rips apart your tissue-layers and your organs, all the small cracks and pieces can not be removed anymore and cause irreversible damage. album of the month

re:mote induction
this album is so nondescript it's funny. the "artwork" is about as basic as you can get; everything is black. the sleeve/tray insert, disc, etc. the only information to be had regarding the release is found on the actual *bottom* of the cd - in other words, the audio data side. this freaked me out when i first saw it - i've never seen text on the bottom of a disc before! anyway, it just gives the website/catalog number, and a password for the website which reveals an exclusive mp3 and some cryptic propaganda... however, with a little detective work, i've dug up some info that may intrigue some of you: monokrom (somehow) fits in with the ars moriendi camp, alongside asche, synapscape, templegarden's, and morgenstern. musically, however, this is a very unique release. i had figured it was kind of a harsh dark ambient release, maybe similar to morgenstern, but this is certainly not the case. if i had to describe it, i'd say it was a bizarre amalgamation of atmospheric ambient and imminent starvation. intruiging, no? my first listen to the album was on headphones, which kinda hurt: this disc gets very loud at times. this is especially grating when you're expecting a calm ambient album, as i was. *grin* of course, loud can be very good - and rest assured this album utilizes a very good kind of loud. layers of pounding beats form a backdrop for the distorted atmospherics and vocal samples, and mesh together brilliantly. the only things that feel sort of out of place are the vocal samples: they're usually difficult to properly decipher, but they kinda distract from the overall feel of the album. i think i can even hear some real vocals buried deep within the mix on a couple tracks.. but that might just be an illusion. i was very pleasantly surprised by this album - not at all what i was expecting, but great nonetheless. and, even though it doesn't really matter, the ars moriendi link makes me like it even more. i don't really know why - maybe the morgenstern album was just that good! i hope monokrom decides to release something more in the future (and this time, maybe with a little more information)!

seven
somehow the music on this cd does not really match the uber-minimalism surrounding this cd. beginning with the disk layout devoid of any information whatsoever except for the band name, continuing with the website that is almost as informative as the cd. but going back to the music, i have to say that this cd could not create a solid music impression; the easy way out would be describing it as heavy rhythmic dark ambient. slow monotonous pulses together with sweeping drones and machinery noises pass for "quality" dark technoid ambient, but fail to create any particular atmosphere that captures your attention. on the other hand, most of the tracks feature really impressive cascading and exploding percussion with a vast number of peculiar interesting noises, often twisted and nicely distorted; but again it unfortunately doesn't lead anywhere, remaining one of few cool parts within the track. somehow the effect this cd has on me reminds me of japanese "junk noise", where i find myself fascinated by unexpected sound changes and progressions, captured by mutated, cut-up and twisted noise. and indeed, this album features several tracks that could fall under the definition of structured, rhythmic japanoise - quite an interesting hybrid for those that could appreciate this sonic twist. overall, it is a very promising project that with some more structure and composition could move from pure sound manipulation and exploration to a solid cohesive release (at least this is the direction i personally would like to see). with the wide range of sound demonstrated (and especially quality of percussion), i am sure monokrom will get the recognition it deserves.

recycle-your-ears
Monokrom is not really a newcomer in the Ant Zen stall. New name for the people behind the famous Asche project (that participated in Templegarden's and appear on Synapscape's "So What"), Monokrom is also a return to more noise and distortion on the famous German label. With this album, you'll be taken far away from the current mix of intelligent techno and industrial that Ant Zen / Hymen has released lately: back to (old school) industrial. One thing is certain: Monokrom is noisy. This is the basic idea and feeling behind these 11 songs. However various these tracks can be, the music is always distorted in some way, and the atmosphere is very thick. Heavy drones, often colliding with oversaturated beats, are looped ad nauseam in a violent way. A lot of samples seem to be used, either from everyday noises or voices and screams. Some feedbacks burst in the middle of these mid tempo songs from time to time, when your ears are not already attacked by some loud statics. It would be unfair to believe that Monokrom's debut album is a repetitive and unchanging wall of noisy drones. Every song is different from the other. Even though everything is saturated, the noises are used in several ways to create distinct atmospheres. While the first part of the CD is both ambient and very heavy (in a typical Asche way, but noisier), the second half really gets more violent, with more loops, some screams, and a level of aggression that could compete with some power electronics CD. All in all, every track is well thought and performed; and even when it gets experimental, Monokrom clearly shows he's not a beginner. This Monokrom CD will probably sound too industrial (in the old, noisy, sense) to many new fans of Ant Zen. However, as a heavier and more oppressive version of Asche or Morgenstern, it will certainly please fans of distorted almost non rhythmic industrial. "Musically" speaking, this is a very interesting album, that may not create atmospheres as wonderful as its predecessors, but stays nonetheless an initiative to check out and may be one of the most profound recent Ant Zen releases.

side-line no.32 july/august/september 2000
new arrival on ant-zen land, monokrom is another eardrum terrorist that will trigger some more brain distortions on planet earth. metallic bass grooves distorted at wishes, flows of deteriorated machine sounds, over-manipulated and undefinable noise assaults, relentless scratched beats and vibrating lamenting voice fragments all belong to monokrom's new order of chaos. ultimately sombre and hostile, this 11-track album (whose titles are all made out of 3 letters - as uf selected at random) will rapidly appeal to addicted slaves to synapscape and other imminent starvation, although they definitely develop their own type of world devastation. a real soundtrack for the universes's collapse. apocalyptic power ambient industrial! (tsf)

mute! #4
sharp metallic distortions of the kind found on hostile alien airwaves. the debut release of this new artist fit's the bill of it's label and shows of like a spoiled child. with only a few tracks really speeding up to it's full acclaim, the rest of the album becomes slow like a machine heartbeat. just because it's easy to lose yourself in the repetitive pulses, don't be fooled. this is certainly music for thought, so you will have to ponder this release really hard and decide your own opinion. (z)

spectrum issue 4
power noise? abrasive ambience? rhythmic industrial? this release is somehow none of these yet all at the same time. the embossed black paper cover gives absolutely no information at all about the goup's recording or track listings, but the disc itself contains 11 tracks, that average between 5-7 minutes in length, creating a running time that verges on the maximum amount of sound you can cram into this format. fractured soundscapes of subdued and chaotic electronic derived resonance, flicker between heavy and heavier sonic atmospheres. even when quiet in actual sound it can't shake of its dark cloaked aura. track three contains metallic machine gun rhythms of shredding intensity that blast out between the quieter rhythmic segments, whilst track four solidifies between squealing blasts of noise and mid-paced beats. disembodied voices wander aimlessly throughout track seven, a piece which could be described as an electro-noise-ritual summoning that randomly weaves beats, voices, sounds, and textures. the slower textural intensity of track eight works well as a very modern sounding piece of industrial ambience - the blips, bleeps and modern-like sounds giving it a modern edge. track nine then skews off on another tangent - a noisy factory-type rhythmic machinery piece that swirls amidst aggressive sound loops. as for track ten, if i heard this at random without being told who it was by, i would have certainly picked it as one of the most aggressive con-dom tracks, consisting of squealing feedback and screeched and gargled vocal distortion. this is of course not the case at all, but it would have had me fooled and, yes, i would have to say that this short piece differs quite a bit from the remaining tracks. slow building tension and metallic clatter see the disc to its conclusion on track eleven, where the sound spectrum encompasses everything from sustained high-pitched notes to the guttural sub bass beneath. slow and atmospheric yet tense and chaotic, this track is the perfect way to conclude a broadly expansive album. for a round-about comparison, i would have to offer up a couple in the form of morgenstern maybe mixed with a hint of imminent starvation's slower or beat-less tracks off the 'human dislocation' cd - so, yes, in essence this has a very 'ant-zen' sound. for those who can't get enough of the disc there is an exclusive mp3 track available only on the website - but to gain access you must first own the cd. this bonus track does display a certain cohesion with the other tracks, but it is by far the most straightforward beat-oriented track (hint: the website access code is visibly imbedded on the music side of the disc). happy hunting. (richard stevenson)

orkus nr.7-8 juli/august 2000
abgrundtief düster, kalt, gesichtslos, farblos, gewalttätig - die welt des projekts monokrom ist eine industrielandschaft ohne menschliche wärme. das cover ziert ein schwarz geprägter schriftzug auf schwarzem grund, die tracknamen sind scheinbar wahllos aneinandergereihte buchstabentripletts. passend zum optischen minimalauftritt gesellt sich eine ebenso finstere und eiskalte klanglandschaft, die sich von tiefem dröhnen und filigranen noise-collagen über schlurfende rhythmusungetüme bis hin zu staccatohaften metall-percussions erstreckt. zum schrecken jeder stereoanlage ergie§t sich über satte 70 minuten spieldauer eine ganze sinfonie aus brutal verzerrten sprachfetzen, kantigen beat-konstrukten, monotonem wummern und ohrenbetäubenden noiseloops über den hörer, die scheinbar nur dem zweck dient, sich unausweichlich in das zentrale nervensystem zu bohren und den letzten rest von gesundem menschenverstand in analogem filterrauschen und disharmonien zu ertränken. wer einen hang zu gewalttätigen endzeitmeditationen mit viel diabolischem groove und technischem chic verspürt und nicht nur auf tanzbaren clubsound aus ist, sollte âmonokrom' schleunigst in seinen besitz bringen. (alexander maciol)

auf abwegen #29 sommer 00
phantastisch, wenn auch nicht minder brutal, klingt die obskure cd von monokrom, die ganz in schwarz ohne informationen daherkommt. wie der tausendsassa salt das presswerk dazu überreden konnte, die labelinfos in die abspielbare seite der cd hologrammartig einzubrennen, ist mir allerdings schleierhaft. sieht jedenfalls cool aus! monokrom lassen sich zeit für den aufbau ihrer tracks. eigentlich bekommt man in jedem stück zwei nummern zu hören: einen bis zu vier dauernden atmosound und einen ebenfalls nochmal so langen crunchigen noisetrack. besonders die atmosphären haben es mir angetan: sie stecken voller details und überraschender momente. vielleicht demnächst mal ein album ohne beats? (yves)

black ausgabe 20 - sommer 2000
monokrom entstammt ebenso wie synapscape aus dem dunstkreis von ars moriendi und dieses mysteriöse projekt veröffentlichte damals 1991 unter dem eindruck der deutschen wiedervereinigung das tape âein stählerner traum' auf fich art. hinter der schlichten und sparsamen fassade des artworks befindet sich diesmal kalt-brüchiger ambient auf der stufe hin zum death industrial welcher aber immer wieder von erruptiven noise- und rhythmusausbrüchen geschüttelt wird und eine etwas pulsierend-chaotische atmosphäre hinterlä§t. dieses album ist nur etwas für abgebrühte leute mit starken nerven bzw. der perfekte soundtrack für massenmörder, serienkiller, folterknechte und ähnlichen klientel bzw. bestens geeignet, den zivilisationsdreck von den magenwänden zu spülen! wer allerdings nach diesen rund 70 minuten harsch rhythm dark ambient immer noch nicht genug bekommen kann, sollte sich unter www.ant-zen.com/monokrom die trackliste und ein exklusivstück als mp3 herunterladen - zugang zur homepage gibt es aber nur durch einen code, welcher auf der bespielten seite der cd als wasserzeichen versteckt wurde! monokrom ist mit abstand der brutalste und härteste industrialsound seit langem auf ant-zen und ich glaub', ich la§ heut' nacht das licht beim schlafen an... (m.f.)

equinoxe ausgabe 13
monokrom ist das jüngste kind der synapscape-brutstätte. der dargebotene sound lässt sich nur mühsam in worte kleiden; hier handelt es sich nicht um eine rhythmisch maschinenbegeisterte platte, sondern um eines der düstersten und beklemmendsten ambient-werke seit laibachs ârekapitulacija'. flächenbrand und jagdbomber kommen in den sinn - eine welt, die im versinken begriffen ist. was man hört ist eine einzige anhäufung niedrigfrequenter töne, pulsierender beats und verstörender geräusche - vereinzelt durchbrochen von maschinengewehrsalven oder der verfremdeten musik riesiger insektenschwärme. am ende stehen 74 minuten nackte angst und die gewissheit, dass die kommende neue weltordnung keine menschlichkeit mehr kennen wird. (kai fischbach)

textundton #36 juli/august 2000
monokrom ist nicht ganz so monoton wie es sich den anschein gibt mit seinem einfarbigen, schwarzbraun marmorierten cover und der nichtexistenz von songtiteln. man hat äu§erst unfreundlich eingestellte, gratschende noise ambientflächen, die unterlegt von unsauberen beatpulsen und verzerrt genuschelter rezitation einen stringenten rhythmus forcieren. analoges fiepen und rascheln, verzerrtes wummern und hallen und eine kalte atmosphäre unterhalb des grundwasserspiegels machen aus dem ganzen fasziniertes zuhören. besonders track 8 hat es mir mit seinem fiepen, zirren, zischen und dem sich wellenartig ausbreitenden, hallenden gongsound angetan. oftmals wirkt aber das konzept des verwaschenen noise und der überdeckten beats in den restlichen tracks etwas undefiniert und unterscheidet sich kaum von anderen bands. und kettenrasseln und tropfsteinhöhlenplatschen, wie im letzten track ist einfach schon zu klischeebeladen. etwas mehr stilistische eigennote würde da gut tun. katakombendisco für dark ambientler. (till schröder)

infratunes
inhumain. si il ne fallait choisir qu'un mot pour définir la musique de monokrom, se serait sans conteste inhumain. retour aux racines de l'industriel et du noise, car comme il est écrit en toutes lettres sur le site officiel : "l'ordre du nouveau monde ne connait pas l'humanité". dès "bfg", le ton est donné. remous sombres et crissements d'acier. paysage musical lunaire et inquètant. rythme indus et larsens sur "src", ambiance caverneuse et morbide pendant "ebg". machinerie diabolique, et terreur noise avec "wrs". folie déstructrice et disloquation auditive, c'est "tga". "uxb" une vertigineuse pièce ambient/noise, striée de bruits métalliques. terrifiante et absorbante, pour qui arrive à rentrer dans son jeux. "caa" pétrifie et concasse les esprits avec son mix de voix saturées, noyées dans un océan de fréquences aigües et de grooves robotiques décharnés. "jlf" vous entra”ne au coeur d'une fourmilière de sonorités sans âmes. comme si une montagne organico-méchanique se mettait à frémir, à respirer. rouages inaltérables, véritable symphonie pour usines métallurgiques "bqf" passe outre la recherche de musicalité. "pnw" sonne l'apocalypse sonore. larsens assourdissants, hurlements ultra-saturés, et chaos bruitiste. très éprouvant, surtout si vous avez eu la mauvaise idée d'écouter "monokrom" avec un casque. enfin, "eox" plonge dans les profondeurs abyssales du dark/noise. on entend perpétuellment un son étrange, ressemblant à ce que pourrait être une mélodie improbable, jouée en frappant des bidons métalliques dans un hangar désert. montée en puissance d'énormes basses effrayante, et maêlstrom inaudible en toute fin du morceau. que dire si ce n'est que "monokrom" est l'album de bruit parfait. loin, très loin au delà de toute description, cette production mystérieuse est pourtant une vraie démonstration en la matière. a réservé à un public avertit.

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