An artist who has been an integral part of the rich and colourful tapestry of underground dance music culture for over three decades, James Monro continues to find himself at the cutting edge of a scene he helped establish. Now, as Monro celebrates his long involvement in dance music, he draws together a collection of tracks for Proton Music, "In the Ether".
Born in the UK but firmly settled in South America, Brazilian based James Monro has always been at the vanguard of underground dance movement. A classically trained musician from an early age and inspired by icons of the electric music scene, Moroder, Eno and Jarre, Monro's love of disco, psychedelia and hip hop saw him translate his passion into energy-fuelled performances behind the decks across his home country and onto the beaches of Goa in the early 1990s.
As co-owner of the Flying Rhino imprint in 1995, Monro added another string to an already impressive bow, before joining forces with long-term friend, co-producer and label partner Grant Collins, to create the 4DigitalAudio label. Striking out as a producer under a variety of production alter-egos, the Midnight Ramblers outfit (alongside Flying Rhino co-owner, George Baker) saw an appearance on John Digweed's iconic "Structures Two" album, with the heavily supported "Scarab", charted by no lesser lights than Babicz, Cattaneo and Warren, while the "Ambientworkx7" track featured on the latter's "Renaissance: Masters Series" compilation. A plethora of high-profile releases have continued to find success on blue-chip imprints that include, Iboga, Bedrock and Flow Records as James Monro continues to stay hugely relevant in the current, fluid music market. A regular on the Particles and Proton Music imprints, 2013's "Fonik" and 2015's "Nectar" EPs, showcased James Monro's extraordinary original work as high-profile remixes from Kastis Torrau and Lonya continued the success.
Now, James Monro returns to Proton with a truly astonishing body of work in the shape of the full-length album, "In the Ether". Developed and written in his Encantada hometown, the fulmination of a decade-long work is now represented by a striking twelve-track offering that spans Monro's musical career. A work that may never have come to fruition due to an extraordinarily difficult set of circumstances in recovering corrupted files after the loss of a computer and back-up on a boat-sinking incident in Brazil, make the album a real triumph of human endeavour and musical craft.
Full of the trademark melodic flair that is consistent with a classically trained musician, the floating, airy sounds of "Profusion" and "Viridian" are juxtaposed against the pulsating bass dominance of "Alchemical", "Galactix" and "Rise", creating a sense of urgency and drive. The intricate rhythmic patterns and meticulously programmed percussive cadence of "The Pink Button" and "Rapture" with their clave/wood block sound, plus modulated synth lines and buffer overridden effects.
Creating a delicious dance-floor groove, "Voyager" weaves a sublime path through an intelligently constructed chord motif whose delay adds elegantly to the sonic tapestry, while "Modular" once again, finds a pumping sustained bass line, added to a series spine-tingling melodies and growling pitched vocals. Similarly, "Frolic Acid" hits hard with its huge running bass line, textured white-noise pads and acid-tinged lead line that evolves into shimmering melodic phrasing. Closing with the hi-hat and shaker fuelled, "Impendium", a chorus of percussive effects lead the charge against ethereal synth lines that flow in unencumbered hypnotic fashion.
With a body of work that is certain to stand the test of time, James Monro has fully transformed his music "In the Ether".
Directed by Jay Epoch AandR by James Warren Mastered by Grant Collins Design by Ben Mautner Text by James Warren