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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Enid - Tripping the Light Fantastic – The world’s premier symphonic group is reborn. With the release of this album, Robert John Godfrey opens up the third chapter in the now over twenty-year history of one of England’s most...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues