Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Necromonkey—Necroplex (Exergy Music)

Lame as it sounds to admit it, but I discovered Necromonkey the same way millions of children discovered Justin Bieber—through YouTube. See, I was looking for Utopia Synth demos when I came across a treasure trove of videos posted by a funny guy in Sweden who seemingly spent every spare moment hooking up various devices and uploading the results, like so…
This fellow turned out to be famous prog-rock drummer Mattias Olsson, formerly of Änglagård, proprietor of Roth Händle Studios, and one half of Necromonkey (David Lundberg completes the duo). What is Necromonkey? Well, it’s a band that, to me at least, embodies the same inventive spirit as those videos. With Roth Händle’s droolworthy collection of analog gear at their disposal, they conjure some exotic sounds and set them to suitably cunning beats and arrangements. While the spirit may be experimental, the tunes are solid and the craftsmanship is serious. The duo are expert manipulators of sound as well as skilled composers. Sometimes their music resembles bands that the general public knows and loves, like Air, Mogwai or Tortoise. Sometimes it displays progressive rock’s flair for the dramatic, as on “Every Dead Indian,” with its tense CAN beat that transitions to an eerie second half. Some of these tunes could work as movie themes, like “Small Rome”, where the wistful piano and Mellotron provide the perfect soundtrack to a point-of-view shot of a stroll through a park at dawn. The album takes a few detours, with interludes based around just one or two instruments, from a glitchy horn section to the delicate, barely adorned bass solo on “Empty Traps and Nightfall.” It’s their fearless drive to make new sounds with old devices that gives Necromonkey its edge. On Necroplex there’s beauty to be found, fun to be had, moods both disturbing and soothing, some odd-time rough-housing, and good old rocking—nearly every track on Necroplex springs a surprise on you.