Isolée

We Are Monster

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

After a huge series of remixes and singles helped to make Rajko Mueller's name under his professional identity of Isolée, We Are Monster was rapidly recognized as one of the most notable album-length efforts in electronic music for a long time, a vibrant and compelling collection of songs. Like so many acts in the earliest part of the 21st century, Isolée takes a clear influence from synth pop roots in the early '80s, but rather than the retro new wave stance favored by others, he uses crisp, minimal basslines and keyboard riffs as starting points to build back up again. The result is to almost pull the entire history of techno along with it to the future, and We Are Monster is beautifully timeless as a result, positing a universe where everything from industrial beats to prog drones and French filter-disco, not to mention classic house and techno straight up, completely recombines with any number of other elements into new forms again and again. Time and again one gets the sense that Isolée knows how to DJ well as much as compose -- songs have dramatic but minimal starts (good for mixing as much as for making a statement) and build to exultant highs, as can be readily heard on "Mädchen mit Hase" and "Today." A song like "Schrapnell" is perfectly titled as a result; it does literally sound like bits and pieces from pop explosions all over the map recombined and mutating as one listens, with everything from gentle guitar lines and swooping strings dropping in and out of the mix just so over a fantastic beat that's part schaffel, part Motorik glide. Elsewhere the huge bass howls on "Face B" and, in contrast, the calm, Eno-via-ambient-Aphex drone melody on "Pillowtalk" provides further details as well as a demonstration of Isolée's careful ear.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
4:37
2
5:23
3
5:14
4
6:56
5
5:58
6
6:22
7
5:44
8
4:52
9
4:33
10
10:00
blue highlight denotes track pick