Saturday, August 26, 2017

MONAS “Freedom”
(Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press)




To date we’re six parts into the TWIN PEAKS revival, and each one ends with a scene at the Bang Bang Bar where a different noir-cool band plays to a packed house every night. (Julee Cruise exclusively populated the stage throughout the series’ original run.) I’m here to suggest that Monas would be an excellent addition to the Bang Bang schedule, if only to shake things up a bit and freak everybody out a little more than the average fare (which, admittedly, has been pretty dang good). Maybe it could coincide with, SPOILER ALERT, Cooper shaking the stunted (non)personality of Dougie Jones. Inject a little adrenaline into that plot thread.

FREEDOM is a hard slap on the tuckus. Monas is a trio made up of guitarist/saxman Colin Fisher, bassist Johnny DeBlase, and drummer and all-around everyperson Kid Millions, and their chemistry is the kind of chemistry that the class clown deliberately sabotages in the lab. What happens when this beaker full of chemicals is poured into this other beaker full of chemicals? Let’s find out! Turns out Monas, especially on “Visible Spirit,” the A-side to this fantastic cataclysm, fizzes and explodes for a while – nineteen and a half minutes, in fact. Turns out that placing Fisher, DeBlase, and Millions in a room and shaking it like it was in an earthquake produces wild results. Yeah, I know I’m copping press release comparisons, but hot damn if Sonny Sharrock and Last Exit don’t come to mind. The trio breathlessly battles it out, but instead of chaos they construct incredible , vibrant, and harmonic scaffolding to drape their sound over. The idea is a sight/sound to behold/behear, and the action packed track is over WAY too soon in my opinion.

Fisher switches to saxomophone on the B-side, “Invisible Nature,” and the trio picks up right where it left off, no breaks, no breaths, just astral blasts of tonal geometry piped straight from the center of a supernova. There’s literally no difference as to whether Fisher plays guitar or sax, the result is the same: free jazz improv that coalesces as if by cosmic design. Oh yes, it’s also a total acid facerush of tautly wound bloodsugarsaxmagic (sorry), an aural makeover to readjust your worldview. Now, if we could only convince the Bang Bang Bar to let these guys play once in a while, maybe they’d fuse the Black Lodge entrance closed once and for all with their molten sound attack. Or maybe it would just prove to be an invitation for even MORE wacky sprites to join the party, what do I know of the rules of the spirit realm?

Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press

-- Ryan Masteller