Exposé Online banner

Benjamin Grant DePauw — Monkey Village
(Ursa Minor UM 0312-2, 1996, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01

Monkey Village Cover art

Can an album be too diverse? Monkey Village opens with two minutes of beautiful ambient angelic voices, then kicks into the six minute title track, a funky pop tune in a very commercial vein, complete with backup singers and horn arrangements... but the same track ends with a minute-long montage of short voice samples with droning synths under it all. A very interesting and innovative ending. "I'll B There" is a similar situation, although the basic track is a lot more interesting, with a repetitive voice sample continuing throughout the song's duration. The domestic quarrel between a man and woman (two full minutes, in fact) that occupies the space between "Goodbye" and "Dying of You" is in fact quite disturbing. DePauw plays nearly all of the instruments: guitars, basses, piano and keyboards, and drums, as well as being the main vocalist. His vocals are not bad, although they do seem very commercially oriented at times, and every word seems to be enunciated out to the fullest; it's the guitar playing that is clearly his forte, and he pulls off some pretty impressive crunchy metallic licks on several of the tunes. Numerous guests are used throughout — backing vocals, flute, cello, horns, percussion etc., all used sparingly, but to very good effect. A few of the tunes are purely instrumental, and when combined with the innovative use of electronics, as on "Fluorescent Coalescence," the result is some of the album's most powerful and stunning moments. Indeed, this album is extremely diverse, ranging from funky pop stuff like that sounds pretty close to Prince, out to more soft-pop tunes like "Free @ Last" and "Dying of You," to several shorter interludes that are very progressive and innovative. Hard to say who will like this; I've listened to it nearly ten times now, some elements of it are very cool (especially the beginnings, endings, and interludes), others (especially the very commercial pop tunes) I really dislike, but even at that one has to give DePauw credit for a job well done, and the ability to work in so many radically divergent styles.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Benjamin Grant DePauw

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

ScienceNV - Pacific Circumstances – This is the second release by this San Francisco based quartet, their odd name coming from the fact that all four members are trained and working scientists, although that most certainly doesn't...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues