Artist: Monomer
Album: Labyrinth
Label: Telefuture/Ubiktune
Origin: Boston, USA
Release Date: 6/11/2014

When you put a year and a half into a project you are working on then you would expect it to be good.

Can you imagine, then, that you would have time to daydream of androids, brain-hacking, as well as digital kingdoms fraught with the monsters in the machine?

Well, Gavin Allen AKA Monomer, has been able to do all of the above and create an album of digital desire.  As soon as you here the first few microseconds of ‘Labyrinth’ you soon realise that letting your mind roam free, between handling 8-bit technology, is a good thing.

There is so much diversity and skill packed into this ten track wonderland that I might go and have a little daydream myse…

No time for letting the mind wonder as when ‘Arcana Engines’ kicks in you actually feel the kick.  The bass line and drums hit you with the force of an atom bomb, in a dub-step type way.  The beats just pound, on and on.  To craft both synth and chiptune into growling hell-dogs is something quite remarkable.  This record is simply relentless and has more energy than a bunny could dream of.

You may now want to check your heart is not beating irregular.

‘Chrome Castles’ is where the mind s allowed to relax and allow it’s eye to picture tall, impenetrable, structures.  A mini-story is played out: the daunting but jolly approach, the realisation that gaining access is almost impossible, a battle, the final showdown.  You can feel Monomer’s mind work throughout, using every sound available to create this adventure, as such.

Some superb dark synth is next up.  ‘Warden’ is a tough character, as you would expect.  The environment and the pay dictate this, there is no choice in this hostile place.  There are flashes of a softer character, as you would expect, and the chill wave-type ending only confirms this.  And before you know it, we have been introduced to the creation of a character.

We have experienced visualisation and characterisation, as well as something akin to the apocalypse.  And being only three records in the album can only be admired.  Now, we head through the many paths and passageways of ‘Labyrinth’.  The spritely chiptune is something that can only be adored, its almost too cute.  With synths and a driving baseline, the title track does not give in until there is a smile upon your face.

‘Fight Or Flight’ is, like every other track on show, very different.  The feeling you get when listening is that you are at a live performance. And ‘Phantom Trace’ will have you clapping like a happy Seal after two minutes in.  Both very good tracks.

An usual complex form of superior mirage in a narrow band above the horizon, or ‘Fata Morgana’ for short, is fortunately something of reality.  From the electric drums to the soft-rock guitars we are gifted with an 80’s treat.  The artists trademark chiptune really talks to you amongst fizzing synths and sound effects.  Very catchy.

Now, time for trip to the love lab.  We only want to create one thing, whilst listening to this:  ‘Sweet Science’.  Sexy is the only word to describe the feeling you will draw from the sounds that are sweetly massaging your inner ear.  Only play at times of late night romance or next to a cold shower.

‘Echolocation’ will bring you back to your senses with almost reggae type beats.  Feeling relaxed, though, is what you won’t feel for long as this horror movie-type anthem will have you peeking past the curtains, as well as possibly calling every one of your family members to check that they are safe.

And why not finish on a high note, or two.  ‘Mindthief’ is reminiscent, in many ways, to a Prodigy production.  The way the beats skip, the growling synths, the chopped effects.  Its energetic and aggressive all at the same time.  A great way to finish an amazing production.

There are many highlights that can be taken from Monomer’s ‘Labyrinth’.  The artist has taken from various genres and melded them into sounds that work, when you would believe that they wouldn’t normally.

When you look back at where the artist has come from, flitting between rock and jazz bands, then you can see why he has so many outside influences.

The time it has taken to put ‘Labyrinth’ together is justified.  Monomer should feel rejoice in his creation.

A labyrinth of love.