MasterMonk – Singles Review
Trackin’ this dude down on the internet has been tough y’all – but highly worthwhile, that I can tell ya.
Y’all know me…I’m always up for a challenge. With the range of artists & bands we deal with, and communications coming over the internet in all forms, each experience is different than the last, and quite often can lead me right down the rabbit-hole for hours trying to figure out what sending over a couple of links would resolve real quick I tell ya. Yet, it’s all part of the game I chose to play, I suppose. If you’re savvy enough and have an idea of where to look, you can find anything out there online with a bit of determination…it took some doing, but I’ve got some links to more MasterMonk down below at the bottom of this article for ya so that you won’t have to battle your Google machines like I was doing.
It’s been quite the productive last year for MasterMonk. I’m counting something like…it’s about ten tunes or so that were released throughout 2021 – which in itself, is an impressive level of output. That being said, writing that out here is one thing – experiencing MasterMonk’s tunes is entirely another – I was basically astonished when I pushed play on “秋競” for the first time…it’s like this dude’s music was completely made for me.
Hopefully, I’m not alone in feeling like that – as far as I’m concerned, nobody should be missing out on this level of audible awesomeness. For real y’all! Push play on “秋競” yourselves and tell me you don’t freakin’ LOVE what you hear! I was blown away right from the start here…the production is completely outstanding, the ideas are incredible, the versatility is 100% stellar – “秋競” is like hearing everything an artist needs to have in order to succeed and genuinely excite every set of ears out there in the process. Loaded up with a hard-hitting & crunchy beat, and a vibe that’s malleable, shifting & morphing the music of MasterMonk from powerfully energetic EDM sound, straight into the relentless restlessness of what dedicated fans of IDM truly love. So if you’re the type out there that can’t sit still anyhow…and you want a track that’s gonna get you up & moving, while also supplying an entire album’s worth of sound to move TO within a single song…trust me, you’re gonna love what you find in “秋競.” Not only is it gonna keep you fully engaged & wildly entertained from start to finish without question, but you’ll find that, even five & a half-minutes into this single, MasterMonk is STILL doling out fresh ideas, twists, and turns that’ll keep this cut delivering through your speakers straight on through to the final seconds.
I’ll be real with ya…MasterMonk had me at hello – everything I heard in the quality of the writing, imagination, and execution in that first experience would have likely had me giving this artist an enthusiastic thumbs-up already…to think that the music just kept on revealing amazing idea after amazing idea, made this set-list of singles truly something else to listen to altogether. Like, how the stakes were raised so brilliantly for the melodically-driven “Wild Geese Landing On The Sandbank” in the next track I listened to by MasterMonk…I mean…you just don’t expect that something as great as what we heard in “秋競” is somehow going to get even GREATER, nevermind this quickly into a set-list. I found everything about “Wild Geese Landing On The Sandbank” to be nothing short of captivating, and it would go on to remain one of my ultimate favorites in this lineup of singles overall. No joke though folks, I am absolutely splitting hairs here, and pretty much only left with my own personal taste to establish any difference for ya…when it comes to quality, MasterMonk has that completely locked-down tighter than tight can be. As you launch into the beat of “Wild Geese Landing On The Sandbank” and the combination of piano…and I wanna say…hmm…it could be a sitar of some kind…I’m not sure – all I can tell ya is what sounds amazing, and that instrument, whatever it is, practically steals the show. It’s gotta be a sitar, isn’t it? Anyhow. I don’t always know what the ingredients are, I can just tell ya how the sauce turns out – and THIS…is mighty tasty y’all. It’s creative, it’s compelling, it’s endearing, it’s engaging – MasterMonk is seriously gifted when it comes to composition, and as you adventure through the sonic odysseys this dude creates on crossover hybrid cuts like “Wild Geese Landing On The Sandbank” you can’t help but appreciate just how well the finest of details are so crystal freakin’ clear.
Each of these songs genuinely tell their own kind of story, and reveal it through their own unique means & methods. LISTEN to the GENIUS that you’ll hear on “Dance Of The Yao Tribe” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talkin’ about. This is seriously exciting stuff y’all – there’s so much authenticity in the way that MasterMonk goes about creating music that you really can’t help but marvel at it. While it’s fair to say that a track like “Dance Of The Yao Tribe” might potentially have less hooks or gateway points into the MasterMonk realm of sound in comparison to the first two singles I checked out, I’d be willing to advocate on behalf of this track’s merit in so many other ways. The adventurism in the sound, the selection of textures and tones that create this sonically-inspired journey, the way that it transitions so fluidly and freely, taking us into a plethora of moments that would seem disconnected if you looked at it all on paper, yet sound stunningly entwined as you listen to “Dance Of The Yao Tribe” play on. Like a great story unfolds, MasterMonk has found exceptional ways to get you interested through the intensity & tension in the dramatic way it starts, and goes on to reveal a mesmerizing combination of twists & turns from there forward, balancing the light and the dark with surgical precision. It’s straight-up interesting to listen to in every sense of the definition y’all…it’s like you can see this song visually in your head…the ice-like vibes & crystalline wind blowing through…the awe-inspiring colors of nature dancing around you…I’m tellin’ ya – “Dance Of The Yao Tribe” is a glorious trip of song. The beginning has such as impressive build-up…full-on cinematic type-sound…and hearing it blossom & expand as it ticks past the four-minute mark to liven-up with the airy melody, low-end synth, and wild beats…I mean…c’mon y’all – what else could you possibly want outta MasterMonk other than exactly what you’re hearing? This is one of TWO cuts I ended up spinning on the most recent episode of the SBS Podcast – if you haven’t had a chance to tune in & check that out yet, click this link right here and it’ll take ya to the show so you can hear the song, with more of my thoughts on the amazing creativity of MasterMonk too.
Now…I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the very same thing myself – how CAN this get any better from here, right? All I can tell ya is that this can, and it DID – right away, with one of my absolute favorites from MasterMonk, if not THE favorite right at the top of my own personal list – “Wind-bell From Laoshan” – this is the kind of music I get out of bed every day hoping to find. This particular cut, more-so than any other, takes me right back to the first time I listened to Four Tet, and realized just how much of a difference real texture and production techniques could make such an immaculate difference in the lefts & rights when combined with clarity and space in the right measure. “Wind-bell From Laoshan” is a breathtaking achievement if you ask me…again, I can recognize that it might not exactly be what most people out there tend to consider a single to be, but the sheer degree of purely fascinating sound at work from the lefts to the rights should be more than enough to get anyone out there listening intently to every moment & morsel of this undeniably, indisputably BRILLIANT song. Like, for real y’all – I don’t say this often, but I would FIGHT people over a different opinion on this tune and go down swingin’ if I had to…because I’m tellin’ ya – what you’ll hear on “Wind-bell From Laoshan” shows us such a mastery of writing, production, performance, sound-selection – the use of space as effectively as you’ve ever heard it in your LIFE – you name it, and MasterMonk has nailed it. This is an audible clinic on what outstanding production sounds like, and an audiophile’s absolute pure GOLD – I cannot get enough of this song, I will never get enough of this song; we are now bonded in this lifetime & the next. The strong addition of the piano melody towards the end as you pass the five-minute mark, was simply the cherry on top by that point dear readers, dear friends…this song was already full-on amazing by that point…but yes, to be fair, somehow yet again, MasterMonk finds even more amazingness for the finale.
Now…you’d figure this mysterious music-maker’s luck would have to run out sometime, right? Lemme tell ya…if there WAS a spot where I thought I’d end up feeling let down, it was gonna be whatever came after “Wind-bell From Laoshan” on my playlist over here, because that SHOULD be the highlight of all highlights, making it so much tougher for that next spot to be filled. Yet here I am…100% mind-blown and practically speechless at the hypnotic & artistic design of “Fantasia 2021” and how remarkable it is – heck, how remarkable MASTERMONK IS…no matter what comes on next, every time it seems like it’s THE song of all songs that I want to listen to. What I really love about “Fantasia 2021,” is how once again, MasterMonk is able to navigate this narrow chasm of audio-awesomeness that straddles itself firmly between the realms of light & dark. You could listen to “Fantasia 2021” and feel like it’s a horror-based theme, and that’d be justified based on how mischievous the shroud of shadows in your speakers can become as it starts – but once the beat comes in, the vibe lightens up too…I wouldn’t go as far as to say that darkness has fully parted just yet – and it WILL coming booming back at ya, so brace yourselves – but you’ll hear what I’m talking about in how extraordinarily flexible, versatile, and diverse a song like this is. MasterMonk is truly gifted beyond words y’all…there’s no argument to be made otherwise, and that’s what’s real…it’s an audible FACT. As “Fantasia 2021” ticks closer to the halfway point, it heads into a scorching hot surge of energetic IDM, always keeping a slow-moving layer of sound alongside it; so not only do you get a jaw-dropping selection of texture & tone, MasterMonk is playin’ with time & space now too. For an eight & a half-minute tune, to never find myself bored – ever – and considering how many times I’ve played this song at this point…we are talkin’ about serious sonic achievements here y’all – I’d be surprised to find any other electro-based artist this year that I love as much as MasterMonk.
Like…the most you’re gonna find me conceding to ya, is that it might have taken “Dance Of The Yi Tribe” a bit longer to find its main strengths than the rest did by comparison perhaps – but it DOES get there, so who really cares how long it took when everything else was still incredible to listen to along the way? You get controlled bursts & spurts as “Dance Of The Yi Tribe” begins to snap into place and settle into its main melodic theme…once again, listen to the sheer amount of detail in the textures and tones from the lefts to the rights…nothing has been overlooked whatsoever in the way that MasterMonk makes music. It’s fair to say that there’s a little less to be listened to at points through “Dance Of The Yi Tribe,” and a few spots where a couple more elements goin’ on might have benefitted the overall appeal of this cut – but I still think we’d be splitting hairs if we start examining things on that level. The reality is, MasterMonk is givin’ ya more than enough to keep you entertained, and you’ll appreciate the steady build that a structure like “Dance Of The Yi Tribe” has once you’ve cycled through it from start to finish for yourself. You hit those pivotal spots like around the 3:50 mark where you get another glimpse of what’s to come…or the wildness in the groove that follows close after…there’s a LOT to take in during the experience of listening to a track like this for the very first time, but after you have, and you have some sort of idea of where this is going & how it evolves, each subsequent spin is even more rewarding.
“Ambush From 10 Sides” would be one of my highlight examples of how brilliantly MasterMonk is able to straddle the worlds of both EDM and IDM at once, and deliver ya something that hits different in all the right ways, straight down the middle between’em. Call it expertly divergent if ya like…professionally deviant if ya wanna…”Ambush From 10 Sides” is the kind of song with movement & sound that’s destined to be noticed. I can write out words for ya to help entice you to listen all day long, but the reality is, some tunes speak for themselves, and this is definitely one of’em. The intense audio dynamics of a cut like “Ambush From 10 Sides” are nothing short of pure genius if you ask me – I’ve already spent a ton of time in my life listening to Venetian Snares, and this is a much more controlled chaos than you’d find in that particular Electro-based project overall…anything on the right side of that is usually something I can stick with. I loved the bright & colorful way it starts…the launch into the beat for the first time after you tick past the forty-five second mark is jaw-dropping…the sound selection itself is off-the-charts cool, and the way that MasterMonk so cleverly uses space, pace, texture, and tone to this song’s advantage from start to finish is essentially second to none. Of course in mentioning the IDM aspect, it’s fair to say that it’s a bit more of a scattered design in terms of structure and how the sound is gonna come atcha so unapologetically as it transitions & morphs along the way…you’ll hear jarring & seething frequencies that may or may not be your jam as much as they so clearly are MINE…but that’s okay…our differences are what makes the world go around, and we all like what we like & love what we love. I love me some “Ambush From 10 Sides” – this much I can tell ya without hesitation – as far as truly interesting music is concerned, MasterMonk knows exactly how to make it with the best of’em.
When the beat kicks into “It’s The Season To Be Jolly,” somewhere around the 1:15 mark for the first time…believe me…you can hear the gift that MasterMonk has for creating music that has no problem whatsoever getting your attention. If you’re like myself, and you dig a supremely varied style & sound, you kinda can’t help but completely fall in love with the music of MasterMonk already, and armed with a more endearing vibe running through “It’s The Season To Be Jolly,” this dude’s bound to melt whatever’s left of your heart. The shortest of the cuts I’ve got on my playlist over here at just over 5:45 – this set of singles has been an undeniably meaty commitment – but a journey that has SO been worth taking! Track after track, I’ve been continually in awe of what MasterMonk has been able to create – and inside the icy-hot glow of the music that flows through “It’s The Season To Be Jolly,” you pretty much get a piece or a sample of just about every reason I’ve loved this entire lineup of songs along the way. Bulletproof ideas, impeccable execution, and twists & turns you’d never be able to see coming in a million years…these aspects & elements run deep throughout EVERY song you’ll hear from MasterMonk, leading to what’s been one of the most indisputably adventurous, ambitious, EXCITING, and authentic adventures I’ve had in listening to music in YEARS. “It’s The Season To Be Jolly” perhaps – but you know that MasterMonk isn’t going to just let you get away with any kind of singular emotion or one-dimensional experience either by now, right? So once again, you’ll find that, even in a shorter timeframe, MasterMonk uses the length of this audio canvas in the most remarkable of ways, filling up your speakers with powerfully moving moments and a wild range of sound that’ll either have you raising an eyebrow or two as it transitions, or just reaching straight over to your stereo to turn this UP even more. Chances are, it’ll be both of those things…and at the same time…and it’s freakin’ amazing y’all.
You’ll find a few more cuts already out there online by MasterMonk – and you won’t find anything less than completely worth every single moment of your time spent listening – this dude has simply got something special that the rest don’t, and it’s radiantly apparent. If you didn’t get a chance to tune into the latest episode of the SBS Podcast yet, make sure you hit that up by clicking here – you’ll not only hear a bunch more of my thoughts on the music of MasterMonk, but we’ll also spin a double-shot for you right there on the show so you can get a solid sample of the pure audio genius this dude is creating. Suffice it to say, MasterMonk has set up shop for an incredible career ahead with all the groundwork established in what was clearly a massive breakthrough year creatively in 2021 – now it’s all about gettin’ this music out there to the ears of the people where it belongs, and hopefully I’ve supplied ya with a few reasons you’ll wanna do that for yourself through this review here today. I know I’ve said it, but I still can’t say it enough – MasterMonk is destined to change the whole game for the rest to follow.
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