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post 31 on Friday 18th May 2007 at 07:59


Digitalis - a plant *and* a Monolake track

The minimal techno of Berlin-based Robert Henke and Torsten "T++" Pröfrock has been a tremendous help in getting me through my second year of University. Throw in some of their tech-dub style and you have yourself a pleasant listening experience that totally reflects its moniker in sound; although their name was actually derived from the Mono Lake, an alkaline and hypersaline lake in California's Eastern Sierra.

I first heard Monolake in 2002 when Gerhard Behles was part of the art. Discontented with merely delighting us with his own music however, Behles for now is concentrating on Ableton software - helping others create good stuff too – by writing software that allows the generation of electronic music without the need for traditional midi input. Why are German people always so efficient? The song was called Bicom. I thought it sounded so serene, and yet it was dub techno. How could this be?

Well, Robert Henke also builds his own hardware - the Monodeck is a customised midi-controller with a difference; performing mixer, effect, and instrument functions all-in-one. It also has flashing LEDs, which gets my vote any day! They used a Roland Juno 6 and Yamaha sy 77 synths up until 2003/2004. As a teenager, Henke saved up all his pocket money to buy the Juno, after he'd bought the obligatory Jean Michel Jarre records of course. It's no wonder their music sounds unlike anything else. Not content with the standard; they improvise, creating perfect form out of both order and chaos. The man clearly sees the beauty in the unusually beautiful:

 Techno. Music of the future. Invented in the last millennium to stay forever. An idea which has been brought to this world cannot be undone. I see no revolution coming up and I do not need one. I believe more in evolution. The well tempered piano was invented and it took 200 years to play jazz on it. In 200 years from now people will still dance to a more or less steady rhythmical pulse and they will still enjoy harmonics, sound and melody. The computer will be so normal in every aspect of life including the creation of music that no one would even think of mention it. Probably there will be intelligent algorithms for the creation of background sound. 

Henke's recipe for tasty Monolake? He doesn't know what makes a Monolake track taste so good even if he tries to describe it. He generalises with space, time, continuous change, colour, and rhythm, and cooks them down, leaving the usual ingredients such as song, melody, and chord progression on the side of the plate. The result? A feast of pure electronic pleasure.

Listen to Monolake on

tags: [ electronic music ] [ monolake ]