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Mike Monday

Songs Without Words Part 1

(OM; US: 8 Sep 2008; UK: 15 Sep 2008)

Oxford lad Mike Monday (a.k.a. Michael Mukhopadhyay) came out swinging with his sophomore effort. Great leaps in songwriting and sound design ability have occurred in just the two years since his debut record, and with Songs Without Words Part 1 he lets you know early and won’t let you forget it. Passing through acid funk, disco house, dreamy techno, chill room hip-hop, and a host of other bent electronic fusions as if a ghost adrift on a vibration, the ethereal, surreal, knee slapping joy of this record cannot be understated. The production is beyond crystal clear (balanced in highlighting every ambient pad and delicately bleeping blip as much as the raunchy, occasionally Mr. Oizo like bass growls) and that is the mark of a genuine talent in the field of electronic music. There are no faults in its construction and even wallflowers smoking bad granola can’t help but bounce to these tracks.


The opening “Along Came Nookie” bristles jazz brushes on a snare over a melting carnival chime and pure Oizo warp tinged bass. That flows seamlessly into “Bad Wind (With A Touch Of Acid)”, which is built from a playful drum and bass loop accented with Indian percussion, a perky saxophone, heavily reverbed sighs, and, yes, a touch of acid synth. My personal favorite “I am a Plankton” simmers out of waves caressing an ocean shoreline, with a harpsichord, a bit of sampled strings, an ‘80s lead, a medieval male chorus chant, and echoing bloops over moody, grunting bass. From beginning to end, Songs Without Words Part 1 is too much fun to put into words, hence the title. It’s an experience that can only truly be felt.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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