Mondkopf – Ease Your Pain review
French producer Mondkopf (aka Paul Régimbeau) has always seemingly stood apart from the musical trends that surround him since his arrival in 2008 with The (Declaration of) Principles EP on the Fool House label run by members of key “first wave” mp3 blog Fluokids. On that release there were moments of thumping electro that sounded very much of that time, but he also revealed a talent for glitchier fare that lead people to draw comparisons with Modeselektor.
Across two albums Mondkopf’s music has developed markedly from this early release, with 2009’s Galaxy Of Nowhere a sprawling collection of downtrodden electronica and widescreen orchestral moments melded with crunched and processed beats that read like an undervalued homage to his childhood heroes such as Aphex Twin and Chris Clark. Intriguingly, his pertinently titled second album Rising Doom was an altogether darker experience linked wholly to the emphasis of his live set, embracing with real intensity the influence of abrasive forms of metal music. It made for an overwhelming and at times uneasy listen, but you have to give Régimbeau credit for such a heart wrenching approach to electronic music.
Around the time Rising Doom was released, the producer established a new club night at Parisian venue The Rex Club named In Paradisum, with the obvious aim of inviting producers and DJs with a similarly all encompassing approach to music. To date luminaries such as Oneohtrix Point Never, Perc, Inigo Kennedy, Sandwell District and Demdike Stare have all played. Playing alongside such names has clearly proved influential in the producer’s decision to start a label of the same name, with this first release including some suitably uncompromising material.
Lead track “Ease Your Pain” engulfs your senses from the off with vast waves of harsh reverb rising over stilted drums, sounding very much like Fuck Buttons experimenting in the studio in the midst of an acid trip. This intensity is offset somewhat by the gradual implementation of flickering melodic patterns, but the monolithic pressure throughout is a thrill and it’s little surprise to hear Surgeon’s response upon hearing was that he’s “glad that not everybody is making fucking dub techno these days”.
Alongside it “Fading Rainbow” provides welcome respite, unfurling as it does into a gentle bed of calming ambient streaks that get increasingly disturbed by creaking found sounds and glitchy textures that fizzle away in the track’s nether regions as a sense of foreboding menace comes to the fore. The release is finished off with a remix of the lead track from Canadian producer Jesse Somfay, who somehow realigns the grinding sonics of the source into a near nine minute production more suited to the darkest, raviest recesses of the dance floor without losing any of its abrasive charm.