Monolithe Noir share brooding instrumental track ‘Askre’

Monolithe Noir press photo

Belgian alt-rock outfit Monolithe Noir share the final track Askre, lifted from the new album ‘RIN’ out now via Capitane Records. Listen to Askre via YouTube below.

You can also stream the track via Spotify:

Antoine Pasqualini expalins: “Conceived as a kind of homage to the British Australian band’s Serpent’s Egg digital medieval inclination, Askre means chest in Breton. It also means conscience. The song was built on a theme played on a hurdy-gurdy I built myself during lockdown. I have been fascinated by this instrument for about two years now but never had the money to buy one. Since I like woodwork and was as interested by the technical aspect of the instrument than its sound I decided I’d gather pieces of woods, bones and metal to build one myself. I found some measurements and information here and there and took advantage of the impossibility to play shows. It took me a few months and I often used on Rin. Unfortunately I can’t use it on stage because it’s too hard to tune, between other reasons. For the rhythmical part Yannick Dupont played a whole ensemble of percussions, improvising, as usual. First track of the B face of Rin, Askre is somehow the continuation of Balafenn’s glance overseas.”

Rin means secret in Breton. Rin is a record strewn with Breton idioms: Finvus, Askre, Balafenn, Brik. Monolithe Noir’s second album ‘Moira’ (Kowtow Records, 2020) again invited us to chase away some dusty demons, to stir up the past and let some space to repetition, in search of textures and atmospheres. And since each record is a research and also sometimes a way of contradicting what we had at all costs wanted to say before, Rin takes the opposite direction from ‘Moira’. By breaking down barriers, focusing on movement, forgiving mistakes and ultimately having fun.

Recorded and mixed between a cellar, two apartments and a family home, this third album is more porous to the environments in which it was conceived. ‘Rin’ was made in peace and for the first time with four hands, with as partner of choice Yannick Dupont (Yokaï, Jahwar, Ottla) To bring in light, a breath and open in a more flexible way, more alive, less metronomic, to write music. 

Brittany, the desire to rediscover it, was central in the writing process of the record and in the atmospheres that emanate from it. Sunken paths, gnarled trees, chiseled coasts, moor, Brest, lonely villages, peri-urban areas, a nuclear power station in the heart of Monts d´Arrée. Rain, sun, many times in the day. ‘Rin’ explores many different landscapes without trying to lose the listener in the middle of the forest. 

You can walk around, with your nose in the air, take deep breaths, and then, at nightfall, hurry home. A hurdy-gurdy, crafted from scrap materials gleaned from the street, an old harmonium found at the end of a flea market, old tape recorders appear on Rin (alongside synths, bass and drums) and perpetuate the presence of drone by exploring other textures, more acoustic but always a little twisted.

If they have been composed and polished in a form of appeasement, Rin’s tracks remain filled with tension, anger, lightning. We could perhaps hear in the background throughout this album, a voice that seems to speak to another, telling it to be more measured, but the conflict is still there. The voice makes an appearance on Finvus and more discreetly on Brik and Landmaerck. Stealthy, it is not there to invite the instruments around her, it rather blends into them. Jawhar Basti comes to haunt Barra Bouge with a feverish and heady song while Mirabelle Gillis (Miossec, Hakim Hamadouche, François Joncour) slashes her violin with dissonant lines before tearing clouds that have become too oppressive.

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