I spent a lot of time listening to Momentum, the latest Monolake CD, as I walked the streets and rode the S-Bahn at night on a recent trip to Berlin. Though I realize it's hyperbolic to say so, it occurred to me that Monolake--aka Berliner Robert Henke--couldn't have made this music anywhere else. Over icy, twitching techno rhythms that mirror the sleek lines and glittering glass and steel of the city's architecture, he layers ghostly ambient textures that echo its spectral past. Passing police sirens and the faint roar of jets overhead bled through my headphones and meshed perfectly with the industrial gray hues he pans from channel to channel in dubby swirls and cloudy puffs. The deep grooves and insistent electronic bass lines register almost subliminally as the foreground morphs--the tracks don't progress so much as they change shape. Despite, or perhaps because of, its minimalism, Momentum hits me harder than any electronic dance record in ages. Henke also conceived Ableton Live--an audio sequencer that can be played in real time, like an instrument--and will almost certainly make good use of it here. Matthew Mercer and Dave Siska open. Thursday, February 5, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ulf Bueschleb.