Monoton, Blau – Monotonprodukt 02 26y++

Rob Young

By Rob Young

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Blau – Monotonprodukt 02 26y++


Although Monoton dried up in 1992, its entire output consisting of a handful of mini-albums and limited-run EPs, its minimalist electronica appears increasingly ahead of its time. The sole work of Austria's Konrad Becker, it was a key influence on the brand of Eurotronica found on labels from Kompakt to Mego. Becker began hooking up analogue rhythm boxes and tone generators in late '70s Vienna, churning out a terse music of bleeps, pings and subsonic pulses, all plunged in tape delay and reverb. Blau — originally titled Monotonprodukt 02 — was Monoton's second release from 1980, and this reissue adds three unreleased tracks.

A Vienna producer about 20 years ahead of his time.

The buzzing machines often sound strained to their limits, yet the overall mood is sombre, a palette of greys and umbers punctuated by Becker's incoherent murmurs. “Dubwise” is a spooky premonition of Rhythm and Sound's Germanic reggae. Muffled steel drums resound around “Wirklichkeit,” while “Teil 2″ is seared with a violin drone. Even after 28 years Monoton's unearthly, steely beauty is preserved intact.