The latest installment of the Monad series welcomes Yotam Avni into the fold, a Tel Aviv-based producer who exhibits all the technical finesse of a scene veteran, but also the fresh enthusiasm of an artist whose releases have all appeared within this decade. Avni possesses a special skill for traversing the spectrum of sounds from soulful to steely without ever giving precedence to one mode or another, making him a natural to test his skills through the Monad project.
Avni’s contribution to this series begins in a deceptively simple manner, luring listeners in with familiarity before flourishing into a much more complex and subtle set of stimuli. The lushly reverberating key stabs and down-stepping melody on the opening “Tinofet” glow with a classic rave energy, yet the carefully tailored percussive samples are unmistakably modern. From there, things take a more unexpected turn: “Rusha” begins with the sound of creaking springs and an unedited surface noise that makes us feel as if we are audio voyeurs within someone’s private living space. The spongy, throbbing percussive shuffle that follows adds to this tension by giving us a feeling that maybe we aren’t alone in this space, a feeling that intensifies with each subsequent added shake or rattle. Other well-timed elements, like gong hits and a frantically bowed synthetic violin, give this one a truly appealing sense of adventurism.
The following “Marva Version” is very much the linchpin piece of the record. It uses a compelling, straight- ahead bass pulse and hi-hat hiss as the veneer for a sound construction built of hypnotic singing bowls, woodwinds, and a seductive, seemingly improvisational siren vocal that both caresses and challenges listeners’ sensibilities. There is a highly dynamic give-and-take between acidic signals and noisy swells on one side and the more free-floating, extemporized instrumentation on the other, which provides a stunning exemplar of dance music in which archaic mysteries still burn brightly in the imagination.
The shorter, drum-less reprise of “Marva” is every bit as interesting, feeling like a cross between the singing bowl trance of Klaus Wiese and the chattering ingenuity of a vocalist like Sainkho Namtchylak. It’s a daring piece even within the context of the Monad release series, since it is completely devoid of electronic synthesis, and yet is rich with all the exploratory, self-analytical impulses that lie at the heart of the best electronic music.