Alex Monk “Exchanging Chairs”

Alex 

Alex Monk
Exchanging Chairs
CD-r, ltd. 60
(Smeraldina-Rima 2)

Ah, our second! We met Alex at ATP in 2006, the Thurston Moore one. We hit it off, and Alex became a regular on Smeraldina-Rima. He’s currently working on his fourth release on our label! Below some reviews, which we stole of off alexmonk.org/reviews/! :)

Chris Sharp, The Wire, December issue 2008. Review for ‘Exchanging Chairs’ and ‘Kit Mikaya’

Two years’ worth of pent-up material finds its way out of the world on these simultaneously released dual debut albums. Alex Monk is a London based musician/producer who uses laptop trickery and a concatenation of effects pedals to balance swathes of gaseous ambience against chiming, layered guitars. Hardly a revolutionary approach, you might think, but his music succeeds in making a genuine emotional impact. The high-built clouds of “Exchanging Chairs” and the psychedelic stasis of “What Thou Lovest Well” achieve a lofty grandeur, while the electronically-enhanced fingerpicking of “Neutrino” and “Death Without Tears” opens up a connection to the visionary beauty of guitarist James Blackshaw. A frail vocal rises like a broken reed through the frozen mist of “Winter Meccanica”; it’s a glacial, incantatory conclusion. The CD’s are packaged in attractively screenprinted 7″ sleeves – but it might be difficult to get hold of them as they’re being made available in a limited edition of just 60 copies each.

Review for ‘Exchanging Chairs’, Losing today magazine

This colossal 6 track 41 minute set from London based musician Alex Monk should by rights appeal to fans of not only Brian Eno, Pimmon, Stockhausen and EAR (especially on the mind melting ‘Soyuz 1′) but Moondog, Roy Montgomery and other fringe psychedelicists operating in outer realms of concrete ambience.

Some time member of Arch slider (who we now feel restless to seek out and sample) Monk crafts monolithic drone scapes by way of sound manipulations extricated via guitars, laptop and found sounds. The set opens with the 11.12 in duration ‘exchanging chairs’, a humungous sloth like slab of glacial ambience reminiscent of Sadar Bazaar and Windy and Carl and yet swept through with a maligned void less elegance more associated with Yellow 6.

This impenetrable slice of bleakly cathedral like stateliness is pierced through by ominous swathes of regal swells that exact an unsettling edge to the proceedings yet strangely sound if truth be known like a despondent half cousin of Laurie Anderson’s ‘Oh Superman’. ‘Neutrino’ with it’s flurry of chime charming softly strummed chords could easily assume a place on Montgomery and Heaphy’s ‘True’ set without a so much as a batting of the eye lid though on this occasion sounding as though both Roy Budd in collaboration with Gnac had wrestled with the recording giving it a curious rain swept noire-ish appeal.

The abstract sounding ‘The Advocate on the other hand is something that Ochre records would have welcomed with arms wide a few years back given their love of all things inspired by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop while the daintily frail lunar-esque suite ‘MG’ brings the set to a lulling close – think early career ISAN meets Raymond Scott, a shyly beguiling slice of chilled out spectral galactic pop or rather more a binary coded lovelorn epitaph to a fading memory.

However all said and done the sets crowning glory is the heavenly apparition like ‘Przykrosc’. A beautifully realised symphonic score that’s filtered through with layer upon layer of reverential swathes of unworldly celestial grace, shimmers and twinkles achingly with a sense of monastic majesty brought to heel by the appearance of Madam Butterfly like operatics which all at once evoke polar mood swings that veer between tearful tragedy and euphoric ecstasy.

Quite perfect if you ask me.

Review of ‘Exchanging Chairs’, Wonderful Wooden Reasons,2008

Guitar and laptop explorer Alex Monk’s first ep sees him embracing muscular drones and gentle soundscapes.  Opener, Exchanging Chairs, is a huge great hairy mountain man of a track that howls and powers along for 10 minutes before giving way to the more relaxed ambience of the rest of the album.  Monk shows a deft hand at creating and holding a vibe and maintains an easy, rolling flow throughout.

Alex Monk “Indiscreet Mirror” LP (Red / Blue)

According to its creator, Alex Monk's fourth album —the follow-up to 2010's wonderful The Safety Machine— "explores the tension between innocence and experience that late adolescence can evoke." I would say, however, that this is a very personal exploration of a very specific adolescence; one endured in a rural village or small town, introverted and largely alone, one more absorbed in nature, landscape and the changing seasons than social pressures, career ambitions and drunken nights out. Not that I'm suggesting that Alex Monk was a clean-limbed Boy Scout solely occupied by bracing country walks and pure thoughts of a subtly religious nature; the game-changing discoveries of sex, hash and LSD are surely the engines that keep this record turning, buried and unmentioned as they are. But if you're looking for a well-observed dissection and reflection of contemporary urban teenage existence, then you should probably look elsewhere. If, however, your transition from childhood to young adulthood can be reflected in an impressionistic collage of dream and memory, a sonic patchwork of acid folk and ambient electronics, then step through the looking glass and join Alex Monk on the other side. […]
— Ben Graham, The Quietus

Red / Blue variety of the Indiscreet Mirror LP -- limited to 100 copies. Screen printed sleeve on heavy white stock, housed in a heavy PVC sleeve. First pressing of 200 copies on gorgeous heavy translucent white vinyl. Graphic design by Levi Seeldraeyers and Marieken Hensen. Screen printing by Smeraldina-Rima.

This is the Red / Blue variation.

INDISCREET-SHOT-800H

Quantity

Price: € 18.00

Loading Updating cart...

Alex Monk “Indiscreet Mirror” LP (Blue / Red)

According to its creator, Alex Monk's fourth album —the follow-up to 2010's wonderful The Safety Machine— "explores the tension between innocence and experience that late adolescence can evoke." I would say, however, that this is a very personal exploration of a very specific adolescence; one endured in a rural village or small town, introverted and largely alone, one more absorbed in nature, landscape and the changing seasons than social pressures, career ambitions and drunken nights out. Not that I'm suggesting that Alex Monk was a clean-limbed Boy Scout solely occupied by bracing country walks and pure thoughts of a subtly religious nature; the game-changing discoveries of sex, hash and LSD are surely the engines that keep this record turning, buried and unmentioned as they are. But if you're looking for a well-observed dissection and reflection of contemporary urban teenage existence, then you should probably look elsewhere. If, however, your transition from childhood to young adulthood can be reflected in an impressionistic collage of dream and memory, a sonic patchwork of acid folk and ambient electronics, then step through the looking glass and join Alex Monk on the other side. […]
— Ben Graham, The Quietus

Red / Blue variety of the Indiscreet Mirror LP -- limited to 100 copies. Screen printed sleeve on heavy white stock, housed in a heavy PVC sleeve. First pressing on gorgeous heavy translucent white vinyl. Graphic design by Levi Seeldraeyers and Marieken Hensen. Screen printing by Smeraldina-Rima.

This is the Blue / Red variation.

INDISCREET-SHOT-800H

Quantity

Price: € 18.00

Loading Updating cart...

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