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Raumschiff Monika


Raumschiff Monika


Monika Enterprises

various artists CD

Raumschiff Monika CD coverSince 1997, Monika Records has put out a unique brand of postrock releases, and Raumschiff Monika (translating as: Spaceship Monika) compiles tracks from each one of them.

Spotlighted artists include Quarks, Barbara Morgenstern, Contriva, Komëit and Zigarettenrauchen with Rosa. I think every track on this disc has something to offer and there isn't a clinker in the bunch. From the catchiness of Quarks (Tracks 2,6,7,12,16) to the masterful beauty of Komëit (Track 5 and 11); from the minimal yet accessible Barbara Morgenstern (Tracks 1,3,13 and on Track 9 remixing a Malaria! classic) to the (mostly) instrumental multi-layered tablature of Contriva (Tracks 4,10,14,15): this compilation is the here and now for any record label.

There's an austere minimalism throughout this compilation recalling the best moments of such older artists as New Order, Wire, My Dad is Dead, and Kraftwerk. The best moments are when these elements are combined as they are on Track 5 "End of Camp" and Track 11 "Dont Call" both by Komëit,Track 10 "The Things You Said" (a Depeche Mode cover and one of the rare moments Contriva utilize female vocals - and to great effect) and Track 15 "Stuck" both by Contriva; and Track 12 "Sonntag - J. Figurine mix" by Quarks.

Komëit, my favorite artist on this compilation (Tracks 5 and 11), is a duo (Chris Flor and Julia Klieman) who combine wistful melodies and a bass-driven sound, with acoustic guitars and spare keyboard. Contriva, originally a trio (Max Punktezahl- guitar, Masha Qrella-Bass, Hanns Lehmann-Drums), but then in 1997 Rike Schuberty (keyboards) joined the band adding depth to their postrock sound - combine repetitive guitar melodies and riffs (sometimes perhaps sampled in) that contain overtones in the body, a swipe of the string with the finger while changing chords, with a bass driving the rhythm behind the simple effective drums.

Quarks (Jovanka von Willsdorf and Niels Lorenz) are probably the poppiest band here but they aren't afraid of using a lullaby-type melody (Track 12) creating a lovely counterpoint with vocals, keyboards and guitar (recalling New Order in their most thoughtful moments). Barbara Morgenstern is the hardest to pin down style-wise but she does have the Monika minimal sound, often vearing off that path with intelligent arrangements. All in all Raumschiff Monika really takes off.

Super Faves: 5,10,11,12 Faves: 2,3,4,6,7,13,15

Patrick, November 27, 2001