The main idea behind the new release from Monochromie seems to be to take fairly straightforward melodic instrumentals, then over-modulate certain sounds to grit up the texture and make a contrast. For the most part, this works fairly well, but there are two issues. First, it’s overdone in places. The over-saturated sound in “Birds Never Die” starts right off the bat, and rises to reach a level that just seems to exist only to annoy the listener. I get about halfway in before I need to move along to the next track. “Fireworks” doubles down on the test-your-patience efforts by bring in not just spatters of static like a radio that’s slightly off frequency, but also a high-pitched whine underneath that grinds away at your ears. Second, it’s the only idea at play here, and across the span of nine tracks it gets old. Which is a shame because the underlying music is a pleasure. “Ashes and Sparks” finds a near-perfect balance, with twinkling piano singing along with soft pads under lightly fuzzed accompaniment. “Day and Night of a Scarecrow” works well, its post-rock tune coming in on the heels of what sounds like a recording of light rain. This one builds up nicely, elements lacing into place–piano, chimes that take a counterpoint, shuffling drums–and then, nearing the end, the interference, which Monochromie keeps at a level where it partners with rather than overpowers the rest of the sounds. In this instance it makes a great accent, helping to drive the piece to its conclusion.”Insomnia,” the last track, does away with the distortion almost entirely, replacing it with a resonance-based drone that draws a virtually unwavering line through another piano melody and a lovely vocal sample. The drone has a mind-soothing effect and the piece overall is dreamily ethereal. Unfortunate that it’s at the end of the disc we get a taste of what might have been had it not been for all that fuzziness. There is quite a bit of very good material on Enlighten Yourself While You Sleep, but you’re asked to dig through too much of one thing to find it.
Available from Fluttery Records.