Our favourite Northern Irish cosmonauts Melted Music are kicking out the jams once again. Earlier this year we took a ride through Sherwood Forest and back with the Portadown Playa SertOne’s Shapes In The Sky EP (http://wearenoise.com/index.php/2012/07/sertone-shapes-in-the-sky-ep-melted-music/). A fun ride it was indeed.
The latest addition to the fledgling label’s roster is Monto (20 year old Ross O’ Sullivan). Hailing from Wicklow but residing in Waterford, this young man is already causing quite the stir. His remix for Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse producer) was chosen as the winner in a recent competition, landing him 5,000 Euros worth of music equipment. Not too shabby at all! This week Melted Music release Monto’s Best Boy EP through Bandcamp/itunes. CD and vinyl versions are to follow.
Much like labelmates SertOne and Sketch Nine, Monto isn’t a fan of structure in the traditional sense. Where a lot of crossover artists in Hip Hop/Electronica focus on a steady groove with backing track-like tendencies – afraid to move outside of the genre for fear they will loose their genre tag – experimentation and far afield influence is always on the menu under the Melted Music banner. That’s why we love em!
The EP opens with the wonk hop, dub bass wobble of ‘Homage’. Over a broken hip hop beat, we hear Monto’s short “cough” bursts filter in and out, as the sounds of an NES on its last legs bounces aimlessly over percussive chimes and Casio keyboards. Defined patterns come and go with some tasty synth stabs. Stalling for just enough time to get your head around the groove before wandering off in a haze of record hiss and real time field recordings. Yes, it sounds bonkers but it’s delivered with a laid back charm – although instrumental throughout, it keeps your attention firmly focused.
‘FTW’ follows, wearing its experimental psych jazz badge for all to see. The rhythms are by and large influenced by a plethora of World Music, each entity complementing the other in a seamless flow. The bass grooves sound like they’re being played six blocks away, submerged in every sense of the word in the opening, before they come to life and settle nicely under the tinkling jazz piano and brass sections of the verses. Throw in a few Meow Meow keyboards and you’re off to the races. What I really enjoy about Melted Music’s stable is the not knowing in regards to what next? Ideas change at such rapid pace.
It doesn’t end there however, as Monto has some ‘Pot Luck’ up his sleeve. Once again we are treated to a vast array of African and New Orleans rhythms, heavy on the percussion from start to finish, in what is my personal favourite of the four tracks. The hi hat pattern tears it up – from what I’m hearing, close to the 160 beats per minute mark – yet nothing sounds rushed as the kick and snare placement keep the groove ice cold. The stuttering synths are top 40 worthy while the introduction of a helium-filled vocal is warmly welcomed. Although clocking in just over 7 minutes, it remains head bop-friendly from the get-go. The closing percussive elements, starting as one, ending in unison and in harmony with each other, although short lived, are a nice little conclusion to the piece.
The EP wraps up with ‘All Is Well’ and by the sound of it we certainly won’t argue otherwise. Space Invader gunshots and Hyderabad house party dance grooves, late 70′s Wurlitzer funk all going hell for leather until Monto decides to go all breakbeat on our ass. The sound of a tripped out India and a wondering Stevie Wonder remain, as counter melodies are introduced to take it all to the next level. The introduction of the first persistent bassline really gets things going but Monto isn’t a fan. Instead, just as it’s all about to kick off a female voice lets us know it’s over “and stop”.
It’s tough to wrap up what it is I like about Monto, SertOne and the Melted Music label. Is it that artists are left to explore with no boundaries? Is it a hub for disgruntled yet creative minds who’d rather stick their heads in a haze of imagination and possibility than sit in the pub moaning about possible welfare cuts and the shit weather? Or is this the future of Music as we know it. The rock star is long dead, so too the million dollar advance. No, we can do this shit from our bedroom, now everybody has a chance, now every voice can be heard, now we could all do with some ‘Pot Luck’.