Noisia radio debuted Monuman’s slick new dubstep style last week on Noisia Radio with a commentary from the boys: it seems as though Emperor has wanted to try 140 and halftime for a while now and he’s finally pushing it through on his own terms. The forthcoming first Monuman LP called Provenance will be self-released tomorrow, March 29 and it will definitely be a surprise for both dubstep and Emperor fans.
Provenance can’t even rightly be classed as dubstep, if you want to get technical about it. It’s really more along the line of experimental bass music ranging anywhere from halftime to 140. The opening track “September,” for example, is mostly about the experimental synths and just happens to be tied to a steppy, slightly-faster-than-halftime beat. Tracks like “Three Face” and “Ratty” have a more obviously bass-oriented vibe so there’s plenty for the dancefloor set. Still others are barely even in the bass music category like “Evermore,” whose synths sit atop a pre-halftime, Hudson Mohawke-style beat.
No matter what the individual tracks are doing, Provenance is meant to be seen as a cohesive work in itself and the tracks move in a progression. There’s a story to be told here, and its ending gets trippier and more minimal with “Pushing,” which contains not only lots of synth-based melodies but vocals compliments as well. Despite having these wonderful, flowing melodies, “Pushing” is also a bit intentionally sparse and cheeky, with some pseudo-video game sounds and a sort of blank canvas of a minimal beat. The listener can really hear with this track how Monuman was working to play with ambient sound design as well as synths, creating a structure for more melodic songs in bass music rather than bass-forward tracks.
Melody seems to be in for bass music this season, with lots of artists thinking up ways to change things up from the typical rave format. With Provenance, Monuman has found that experimenting not only with beats and snares but with synths, melodies and ambient space can bring a whole new range of musical options beyond just hard stuff or pop stuff. That’s why we will keep listening, no matter what name he goes by.
Provenance is out Friday, March 29. Pre-order buy links on multiple platforms available here.