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

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kurgan's Bane - The Future Lies Broken – If you ever wondered what Rush might have sounded like with a female vocalist, wonder no more. Baltimore-based four-piece Kurgan's Bane is a band that obviously idolizes Rush, especially the Moving...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues