:CD Review: Saltillo â€“ Monocyte
Saltillo â€“ Monocyte
Label: Artoffact Records
Release Date: February 10, 2012
Review By: Joost Van Krimpen
One of the bigger luxuries of reviewing is that (at times) one gets to hear stuff that has yet to be released. An even bigger an advantage is thatâ€“while reviewingâ€”one has to spend a lot of attention to something that has managed to escape earlier attention. The reasons for that are numerous (everyone can think of several good and even more bad reasons, I will not add my excuses to your lists), and sometimes the reward turns into a lovely little gem. Before receiving this album I had never heard of Saltillo, menton3 or Saturday Munich.
Back, halfway during the nineties, roleplaying-games were a bit of a rageâ€¦ people came together to submerge themselves in a story played with the help of pen and paper, some dice and a lot of imagination. The group I played with usually spent one night a week playing Dungeons and Dragons, and (at least) two nights playing Vampire. Obviously, we set the scene for the night, by means of music, incense and lights. Our goals were usually a bit more â€˜present timeâ€™ then the setting used in â€œInterview with the Vampireâ€, and at that time we wondered (as I still do) why Guns â€˜n Roses were asked to cover a Rolling Stones song to end that movieâ€¦
Now, some 20 years later, pen and paper roleplaying games seem to have died a silent death. Just as seems to have happened with vampire-stories in the tradition of Anne Rice or the â€˜World of Darknessâ€™. In a world that seems to be filled with Twilight (and no zone), zombies and computer games there is all of a sudden â€œMonocyteâ€. This is one of those â€˜mood-albumsâ€™ that would have done great amongst the ever present Dead Can Dance or Cocteau Twins we used to play to get us all gloomy and moody. Or as a replacement for some of the gaps we filled with Spaceman 3.
A brief excursion told me that Saltillo is â€˜menton3â€™, who used to be part of a group called â€˜Sun-day Munichâ€™. That same trip showed me that one of the members of said band was a red-haired lady whom, according to the number of pictures featuring her face, was probably the most distinguishing feature of Sunday Munich. (My main source of information on this part: the images page on Last.fm). Some more clicks on the ever-patient web presented me with some audio snippets of the work menton3 did in the pastâ€¦
When I was asked to review this album, the first thing I did was feed it to my media player. I read nothing, paid no attention to any artwork and did no research (yet). I let the music land on a blank canvas. Those first impressions lead to my previous reflections. After that first session I had a look at what I received. It turns out that the album is the soundtrack to a comic. I checked again, but that comic was not part of what I received. If the artwork is any hint (and the information I did get tells me that it is unreleased material from the comic) there is a good-looking dark comic out there. With a soundtrack to match. If only tones were colours and if songs could be seen. One could try and explain the tracks. I know, I have reviewed albums track by track in the past, and ran into something between writers block and not wanting to finish that task.
Menton3 is a guy who doesnâ€™t seem to think about stopping when he mastered one instrument. On Monocyte he plays all strings and the electronics that make the album. All throughout the album the music takes a step back when a sample is telling a part of the story. On the track â€˜If Wishes Were Catholicsâ€™ the vocals and lyrics are courtesy [blank] while a promise of more Sunday Munich is making its way over the â€˜net.
With Monocyte Saltillo released an album which seems to have its roots in the nineties, while he seems to have a bright (or should we say gloomy) future ahead. In the eyes of your reviewer this is the most accessible (and perhaps â€˜matureâ€™ (by lack of a better word) released by menton3 up-to-date. All I can say is that, and here I wrap up my opening paragraph, I intend to keep my ears open to new work, and have a bit of a backlog to dissolve.
Score (on a 1 to 10 scale): 7,5