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  • Release Date 2019-07-05
  • Label Proton Music
  • Catalog PROTON0439
James Monro is an artist who epitomises flair and success in a constantly evolving environment. Returning to Proton Music the stunning "Ascension" perfectly illustrates his prodigious talents.

A career that has spanned over three decades, James Monro has consistently found himself at the vanguard of the underground dance movement. DJ performances across his native UK from the late 1980s and '90s Acid House era, to a "global circuit of parties and festivals", Monro has been a torch-bearer for a cutting-edge sound. Building a huge fanbase as he travelled the globe, the formation of the Flying Rhino and 4DigitalAudio imprints continued to chart a path to success as Monro eventually settled in South America.

Finding himself featured on John Digweed's landmark "Structures Two" and Nick Warren's "Renaissance: Masters Series" compilations, Monro was also heavily supported and charted by Cattaneo, Babicz and Warren. A career that has seen over a century of production credits thus finds James Monro feature on a range of blue-chip labels under an array of production personae. Bedrock, Renaissance and most recently, Kompakt, have all played host to his unique sound while it is the flagship Proton Music that accounts for a significant proportion of Monro's output. 2013's "Fonik" was a stunning original debut, followed by 2015's "Nectar" with subsequent remixes from Lonya and Kastis Torrau. Sandwiched between a pair of remixes, August 2017's full-length "In the Ether" album signalled a landmark moment in James Monro's career with a best-selling twelve-track offering that dazzled with its career-spanning musical gems and production prowess.

Now returning, "Ascension" is a driving acid-tinged number that hits its stride early with coruscating riffs filtering in and out of range backed by a relentless kick and metronomic off-beat percussion. A fizzing gated arpeggio enters the fray in the third movement, combined with a rich sustained bass note resulting is a glorious psy-workout. Continuing with "Drift", a sumptuous rolling groove takes centre stage before a harmonically rich motif blends effortlessly with the rhythmic foundation. Additional rippling keys and counterpoint melodies add to the sonic architecture in wonderful patterns while an uplifting motif plays through the third movement to create a wonderfully melodic and contemplative offering.

"Interface" finds a swirling, hypnotic groove laying the foundations for a chorus of effects to lie intelligently across off-beat percussive cadence and hefty bassline. Building sumptuously, additional percussive layers supply dance floor delight as wave after wave of new production material spins across the left-right spectrum emerging in driving, purposeful fashion. "Flush" builds upon the foundations of its predecessor with a chorus of multi-layered effects and swirling white-noise washes. A squelching bass groove and dominant beat make their presence felt throughout while a wonderful chord progression adds intrigue. A sublime arpeggio sequence sparkles and ripples across the mid-point breakdown, reprised in the latter stages as the track meets a blockbusting conclusion.

With an epic track-quartet to his name, James Monro rises to another level through "Ascension".

Directed by Jay Epoch
AandR by James Warren
Mastered by Grant Collins
Design by Ben Mautner
Text by James Warren