Album of the month for me! Love the sounds and arrangements. Was able to see and listen to these instruments and the Ensemble in another concert. Missed the Monophonie event sadly. Thanks to Phillip for following his explorative and experimental path. Just superb!
This album was exactly what I wanted to hear. How often does the music you are daydreaming about listening to just appear fully-formed? Full of glorious bells, overtones and mechanics all lovingly rendered and minimally composed.
Favorite track: Motor.
Following 2019’s ‘New Atlantis’ LP under his experimental techno alias Efdemin, Phillip Sollmann’s ‘Monophonie’ is a project dedicated to uniting different strands of utopian music. His approach: combining and recontextualizing rare historical instruments of sonic research of Hermann von Helmholtz (19th century) with the self-designed, microtonal instruments of Harry Partch and metal sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia.
The result is a psychedelic investigation into just intonation – alternative tuning systems that create unique sets of harmonics not found in conventional scales. ‘Monophonie’ recasts these sounds into new rhythmic environments where epic kosmische, polyrhythms, acoustic techno and microtonal glow are interwoven into a rare music.
Over nine tracks, the album explores multiple forms of minimalism, from unwavering repetition to paired-down chords and sparse sonic environments. But it also seeks to expand the sound spectrum of Partch’s custom built organs and melodic percussion instruments as well as Bertoia’s sonambient singing metal rods into an atmospheric otherworldliness.
‘Monophonie’ was first composed in 2016 and premiered at Berlin’s Volksbühne theatre in 2017, before it went on to the renowned Ruhrtriennale and Kampnagel in Hamburg. It was performed by one of Germany’s premier neue musik collectives Ensemble Musikfabrik together with Sollmann himself on von Helmholtz’s original double siren, with set design by Michael Kleine and wardrobe by Peter Kisur of Honeysuckle Company.
released May 15, 2020
Composed and mixed by Phillip Sollmann at the Meadow, Berlin 2016-2019.
Recorded, mastered and cut by Kassian Troyer, DM.
Artwork: detail of ‘Monophonie’ by Michael Kleine [Stage Design] | Yasmina Haddad [Photography] | Yusuf Etiman [Layout]