Independent record labels will often have a premier artist who dominates much of their catalog. For Montréal's Bombay Records, that someone is Portuguese-born producer Miguel Graca, whose lush and evocative house tracks are the label's signature. Tougher than his first album, Shining Stars, Monkey Mass is inspired -- as Graca openly states -- by human life in the city. But that doesn't mean he has gone all synthetic techno by a long shot. The music on Monkey Mass is still rich, fluid, and most of all warm. But the mechanics behind the music, the machines, are much more obvious. Even the album cover, which depicts a row of palm trees in the fore and an undefined urban skyscape in the back, all softly heated by the setting sun, expresses the sentiments of the album perfectly. In more musical terms, Graca has expanded his rhythmic vocabulary, incorporating micro-house beat stutters in "Son of Sun" while giving electro cadences a try on "Somesay," but he remains fixated on tropical conga tones and sunshine flutes with "Tree Tops" and "Salomine." By combining equal portions of new actions and standby ideals, Monkey Mass succeeds in virtually everything it tries, making it yet another standout album for Bombay and Graca.
Monkey Mass Review
by Joshua Glazer