Anyone who happened to be paying attention to underground horror cinema in the late '90s is likely to remember their first encounter with the Blair Witch Project. Before the high-profile specials on Sci-Fi Channel, the marketing hype and the eventual realization that the film couldn't be real (sorry, spoiler alert) when the actors started to emerge, the Blair Witch Project circulated through the underground as an anonymous, unlabelled, grainy VHS bootleg. There's nothing quite like the chilling thrills of receiving a real mystery, something potentially wonderful, offering miracles, while also dragging the viewer through the darkest depths of human nature and the world that surrounds us.
With Mono Alto, the self-titled debut EP Mono Alto from Vancouver, BC's Matthew Eisenhauer, who recorded these four trembling, pummeling, mysterious midnight demos as a way to "gain perspective on their music" while preparing a proper full-length.
Mono Alto is four slabs of unrelenting doom-y ominousness, beamed in from some Black Sabbath-nether Astral Realm, like a Sleep cover band teleported from The Darkside. Classic stoner/doom downtuned riffs are augmented with proggy jazz and slinky funky with "I Think I'm Done (Letting Time Muscle Me Around)"; weird, broken sci-fi electronics ("Living By A Book"), underscored with fuzz bass and broken beats with “Introcisions." Instrumental "Fear Of Comfort" closes things out with a gelatinous flanged guitar, while a lead cries like a damaged angel in the background to close things out. All in all, Mono Alto encapsulates all that is right and well and good and unholy in the realm of darkside rock. Metal, prog, jazz, night-time funk. Arty and smart to the extreme, while still having enough gristle and meat to pack a punch and raise the ambient temperature a couple of degrees - this is what it sounds like when the head and the heart come together - as the most successful psychedelia always achieves.
Mono Alto is murky and mysterious, challenging and menacing in its way (particularly in its raw-ish demo-like sound quality), but there are miracles here, to be sure. This kind of rough gem is hard to come across, in the instant gratification world of the Internet. A little mystery, a bit of danger, causes a spark of wonder and thrill of excitation to burn in your mind, setting your imagination on fire, transporting you to the strange primordial realm captured on the sleeve. Mono Alto will be making grand statements of dark psychedelia before you know it. Get this demo now, and claim bragging rights. Mono Alto's a talent to be watched, for certain.
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