This music speaks directly to the notion that hip-hop has no boundaries. Mononome draws inspiration from the crate digging forefathers and lends a vision that is all his own. This native of Greece has spent years digging for the right records to mold his sound. The approach is one that’s familiar, but it’s accomplished using an entire body of music from Greece that’s gone largely unheard this side of the world. The end result is a sound that is truly unique to Mononome (also to Greece). You can feel the culture teeming within the vinyl, and he does a proper job bringing that to the forefront of the compositions. This is another great example of when an artist takes a customary idea, and turns it into a novel concept.
The journey starts in 2011 with the release of Dream Sequence, followed shortly by The Secret Melody via Bulgarian netlabel, Dusted Wax Kingdom. The label has been a solid source for all things downtempo and abstract since 2007, and has hosted all of their releases for free listen and download on their website since its inception. In 2012, a partnership was made with Beatquick records, based out of Athens, Greece. This record label would become an integral part of a bourgeoning trip hop scene emerging within the country, and would go on to release music from some of the most prolific Greek artists. Henceforth his compositions have continued to be released via Beatquick, StillMuzik, & DLOAW & Co.
This is the sort of sound that likely emanates from dark alleys in coastal towns surrounding the Mediterranean. There is a strong maritime feel, which owes itself to the music’s proximity to the sea. This is old world rustic boom-bap that tells a new tale using snippets of the past. Tracks like “Don’t Come Back” & “Leaving” offer the best examples of this sonic link to antiquarian styles of music. While some songs resemble a soundtrack for a day trip at sea, others might have you spooked walking alone at night. “Pitch Black Sun” and “Lie”, for example, are more suited for a trip to the graveyard, with dark, mystical undertones. “Dancing Scissors” is a track that inspires no comparisons. Off-beat drum patterns garnished with haunting vocal samples anchor a unique sound and style that deviates from most known patterns.
In 2013, Mononome helped form an international trio with producers Jenova 7, Mr. Moods. This placed three stylistically disparate producers in the same room, and led them to create a sound that highlighted their individual strengths. Using a mix of vinyl sampling & live instrumentation Wax Triptych cycles through numerous genres and moods to paint pictures in the mind’s eye. Their album “A Tale of 3 Heads”, which would serve as a benchmark to the European trip-hop scene for years to come.
Most notable about Mononome’s work is how it’s created. All of his tracks are entirely produced, mixed & arranged with an AKAI MPC 2500, and the rightly producer takes great pride in this. The music is without digital influence, a nod to all of the pioneers who have brought us to where we are now. In this way Mononome is a link to the past, both through his music and his means of production. Allow yourself some time on this sleepy Sunday to settle into this masterful body of work.