What does Monomer sound like?
A striving attack of modern synths and retro chiptune sounds working together in unison.
The review of Monomer – Violet
It’s been a while since the last Monomer solo release. 2014 to be exact. Monomer, aka Gavin Allen has been chipping away at a small release. Violet sees the synthwave and chiptune composer return to his solo career again after being tied to a game studio. It’s a welcome return as his unique style of merging synthwave and chiptune with other IDM and prog influences sounds like no one else.
‘Violet’ opens the release in dramatic style. The track showcases Monomer’s style of unifying chiptune sounds and modern-day synths into a single arpeggio or melody. It sounds retro and futuristic simultaneously and that’s a difficult trick to pull off! The chords evoke curiosity and sci-fi vibes but you could still dance to it or drive with the hood down and pretend to be cool with it too.
‘Synch’ is a dramatic and vast space of prog drum loops mixed over thick rave synths slowed down to allow glorious cascades of chip notes and synth plucks to attack you in unison. It reminds me of Shatter or Tekken Tag Tournament if we’re talking game soundtracks but without the guitar and with a slightly darker vibe. That darkness is saved for the heavy-hitting bass of ‘Phobos’. Here, the pulsating bassline throbs the track forward as the drums strive at you like a synthwave nightclub menace. A synth voice starts off adding airy melodic overtones but as the track transitions to a frantic and chaotic middle eight, the synth voice distorts down from creepy angel to devilish growls with panache. Gothic synthwave – eat your heart out!
Whilst it’s only three tracks, these songs took Monomer three years to get out. The cadence of his work may have slowed, but the quality has not been compromised one iota. It’s a fantastic return to the music scene again and I hope this inspires Monomer to turn his hand to more music creation more frequently where possible. There’s nothing quite like him out there.
Recommended track: Phobos
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