Exposé Online banner

Hardscore — Monkey Trial
(Margen 0504/3, 2004, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-03-01

Monkey Trial Cover art

This is one of the more bizarre and intriguing things I’ve heard in quite a while. It’s set up as a kind of audio movie with a story about a woman who can talk to animals who has taken a chimp under her wing only to have him disappear. She hires a private detective to find the missing Buba. Right. Makes about as much sense as Uncle Meat or Joe’s Garage. Or The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, for that matter. Frequent “soundscapes” connect the musical pieces, moving the story along with recorded conversations and ambient noises. The musical tracks are precisely composed and very complex, with shifting meters and abrupt changes in style and instrumentation. The closest comparison would be Frank Zappa, an impression magnified by the presence of marimba and vibraphone. Other instruments include bass, drums, sax, occasional guitar, and lots of keyboards. Most of the vocals are female, with mixed backing parts; the phrasing and accents are awkward enough that reading along in the booklet is required for any sort of understanding. Due to the continual complexity, I’m also reminded of a brighter, more cheerful Art Bears or Science Group – not bad company to be in. The whole thing flows so smoothly from piece to piece with the story that it’s impossible to separate out individual tracks, so if you don’t have time to hear it all, it’s best not to start. This thoroughly strange and interesting listening experience should reward multiple playings well.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 31, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): Hardscore

Latest news

2019-12-11
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Murat Ses - Umami – Umami is Turkish musician Murat Ses’ seventh solo album. Umami is a Japanese word meaning savory, which this new release is, not too sweet, not too sour, tangy but just right. On his latest...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues