single // Monad
I was really looking forward to this release, I
have to say. There is something about deeply experimental music
being released on a 7” single that for some reason really
appeals. I think it's because the 7" is so ordinarily suited
to the 'pop' track that to hear anything other than pop music on
a 7" is quite exciting. Touch's Sevens
series has included short releases by the likes of ex-Cabaret
Voltaire sound recordist Chris Watson
and Pan Sonic's Mika Vainio. Bruce
Gilbert's association with the label goes back many years,
with albums like The Haring getting released on Touch (it
was subsequently re-released by WMO). More recently
the ex-Wire guitarist – as part of the group
Souls On Board – took the B-side of a live split album with
Savage Pencil (Melatot / Souls On Board, released on Touch
sub-label Ash International). Monad is housed in a sleeve
designed by Jon Wozencroft (as are most Touch releases) and lists
out the instruments and tools Gilbert used boldly on the front (Korg
Monotron Analogue Ribbon synth, Zoom RFX-200, Korg Kaos Pad 2, Apple
GarageBand); there's also a diagram by Gilbert himself on the back.
I looked up the definition of the word 'monad' and
its meanings vary from being a small, single-celled organism, to
– according to Leibniz's metaphysics – an indestructible
entity that is the ultimate fabric of the universe. This confusing
word has little bearing on the two tracks included on the single,
unless they refer to the songs as being solid and reasonably impenetrable
soundscapes or their short duration (at 45rpm both are around two-and-a-half
minutes long apiece).
'Ingress' is a dense drone whose layers are not
immediately obvious unless you really concentrate; if you listen
deeply you will pick out the various shifts in sound across the
piece's length, the changes in tone and the rich tug of the bass
drone. The best way to describe 'Ingress' would be as an approximation
of what loading tapes into a ZX Spectrum used to sound like, only
this is more measured, more deliberate and more ostensibly 'composed'
than that noise.
Over on the B-side, 'Re-Exit' is less constant,
consisting of a throbbing, echoing bass loop offset by buzzing noises
and a phasing, quiet drone out in the background. The bass loop
provides a rhythm of sorts, but in essence its more of a thick pulse.
It's a style that Gilbert has deployed a number of times, both in
his solo work and also with Graham Lewis as Dome.
In it's own, pretty sinister way, it's beautiful.