Monder, Ben: Amorphae
New York jazz musician Ben Monder has been around for decades and has played on almost two hundred albums. His unearthly musical exploits have evolved in a most satisfying way on his new album Amorphae. Joining Monder (electric guitar, electric baritone guitar, Fender Bass IV) are Pete Rende (synthesizer), Andrew Cyrille (drums) and Paul Motian (drums)
The opening track "Tendrik" features Monder's lonely and ethereal guitar tones. This is a gently flowing piece, very slow and at times quite dissonant although the melody is certainly there. The sound is crisp and clean and sounds nice on a good set of headphones.
On "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" Monder's guitar rings with a colourful palette of sounds as his chord progression slowly develops. He displays some beautiful sustain here, often quite mesmerizing and as intense waves of sound advance and recede there is no doubting the artist's experimental flair.
"Tumid Cenobite" offers another slow building of atmospheric guitar and background brush strokes. Although minimalistic, Monder has the ability to fill a soundscape with only his guitar.
Two of the more experimental tunes are "Gamma Crucis" and Zythum" where Rende's shimmering waves of synthesizer adds a colourful dimension to the spacey atmosphere. Both tunes feature subtle yet complex drum patterns with the cymbal work being particularly impressive. Although very slow moving some of the low bass tones are incredibly intense.
"Triffids" has a heavy dose of improvisation with Monder's sonically enrapturing guitar chords and unhurried bass lines leading the way. As the song evolves huge waves of building sound envelops the listener. The last track "Dinosaur Skies" is another example of how Monder builds soundscapes on intense waves of instrumentation.
Although some may not consider these actual 'songs' in the truest sense of the word, collages of sound may be more accurate, Monder has made a completely fascinating and totally trippy slice of experimental instrumental music. I am very impressed.
An ECM recording.
2. Oh, What a Beautiful Morning
3. Tumid Cenobite
4. Gamma Crucis
8. Dinosaur Skies
Added: November 22nd 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
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