WOBBLY “Popular Monitress” C54 (Hausu Mountain)


Jon Leidecker certainly has the pedigree. You’re not messing around when you mention both Negativland and Thurston Moore (Ensemble) in your CV, so one thing we can all agree on is that expectations should be chucked out the window as quickly and with as much prejudice as possible. We were primed for this moment by 2019’s Monitress, also on Hausu Mountain, having nothing to do with Popular Monitress despite the repetition of the word Monitress. Maybe Leidecker has some connection to women who advise, or monitor, or admonish, often in a school setting. With Popular Monitress, the connection can only be one of admiration and support. Can’t argue otherwise.
But as Wobbly moves from Monitress to Popular Monitress, it’s important to note that this is not a “remix” album, or an album connected to Monitress in any thematic way. So we take it on its own, and while Monitress was an incredibly engaging listen, Popular Monitress sort of knocks its socks off. Well, ok, complements it. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t squirm and squiggle from inception to blooming realization in remarkable and confounding ways. Utilizing iPhones and iPads, as well as a single grand piano (not really), Leidecker composes and processes the heck out these MIDI jaunts, synthesizing a daring and death-defying (not really) song cycle that constantly shifts and frequently delights with its incredible mobility.
Popular Monitress emerges fully formed in Hausu style, a perfect exemplar of house sound: mind-expanding electronic experimentation that’s as wildly unique as it is peculiarly accessible. From the detritus swirls melody and rhythm, locking into themes before sandblasting them into unrecognizable otherness, then swirling again into something new. It has the freewheeling sense of improv, but it’s cleanly pieced together in recognizable chunks, the complex array of digitized movement resolving into alien earworms for cultures and species programmed differently than our own. And this even takes into consideration the actual keyboard-based tracks like, well, “Every Piano,” which fastens itself to an instrument of our own world regardless of how it’s played. But it sounds like a piano!
Whatever you’re looking for in this new Wobbly tape, you’ll find it. Whether it’s the proto-Hausu electro-jammage or the IDM-adjacent rhythmic workouts, you can’t go wrong. The real treat is trying to trace a thematic line through this massive beast, 21 tracks, almost an hour long! It’s both harder and easier to do than you imagine. And it’s an incredible endeavor.