Monolight

Free Music

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Free Music is Rune Kristoffersen's second solo album under the project name Monolight. The once-Fra Lippo Lippi member and now owner of the Norwegian avant-garde label Rune Grammofon delivers a CD of sparse, spontaneous electronic compositions that stand much closer to the contemporary experimental techno school of David Kristian, CoH, labelmates Alog and Spunk, or the Bip-Hop label roster (Cray, si-cut.dB, Bovine Life) than the electro-pop sounds of his former band. Performed on digital and analog keyboards with effects, the ten tracks on Free Music were improvised following a hit-or-miss philosophy: hit, the track is saved for inclusion; miss, it is trashed. Kristoffersen allowed no possibility for overdubbing or salvaging in any form an unsatisfactory piece. The result is a highly cohesive album of well-defined pieces, but the sense of immediacy one would expect from such a work method is surprisingly absent. The sound palette remains very narrow and some pieces feel surprisingly dated ("Duo Abstractions 5," for instance). But the CD also has its rewarding moments, like the introspective "Still Light," quite powerful, and "Four Invisibles." Whenever things get more melodic ("Stranded in Narrow Air"), they stay intelligent and uncompromising. Monolight's music lacks some originality, but it is well done.

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