Tripping Through Monta At Odds’ Argentum Dreams

Nick Kaniak

Having to tag or classify an album / band is disrespectful or even evil in some way. Given the case that you need to describe it with words, a cluster of sonic textures or a complex pallet of ambiances is always tricky. Because of this, we are forced to look for close references to make the allocation of sensations easier to the receptor.

Now here we have an album that though complex, has clear references and influences. All traceable and mashed up in a very particular way that just works for the ear & the mind.

So you might be wondering: How does “Argentum Dreams” sound?

Well, when describing albums in one phrase, I like to picture surreal scenarios, so cope with me.

Argentum Dreams sounds like: It’s 1984, you are crazy enough to lock in a room all the guys from Kula Shaker, Tame Impala. Kill their lead singers and bring in Lana del Rey in a slightly better mood. Give them a Moog, a Jupiter 8, a Jazz Bass and a bag of not so strong mushrooms.

Where to listen: sitting in a Georgian library chair with the biggest set of headphones you can get your hands onto (if with mahogany caps the better). If you can, and you should, try to start listening to the album on a lazy Sunday, in the late afternoon and finish it around sunset/ night.

From a technical point of view

Despite playing with well used spacial Fx such as reverbs, delays in 3/4 & echos with fluctuating feedbacks, the record has an innate sense of “live in your face” attitude whether you listen to it with studio monitors or reference headphones. Got to compliment also the low end of it. On many occasions, I found myself really enjoying the bass lines. They happen to be doubled between the guitar bass and a synth bass, and the “on and off” morphing between them. Comb-filtering? not sure, but dam-well executed.

The synth leads also take a main role in the journey building. Well defined and hypnotic arpeggios do become one f the main cornerstones of the album’s ambiance. All in all, the Synth department is well versed and equipped.

From the artistic / creative side

This records definitively goes in the experimental side of things taking a lot of the liberties used in the 70s but given with a 80s flavor.

In fact, the 80s sensation is so strong that I even tough the begging of certain tracks where taken from tv-classics of that era. How so? well, the certain titles that did pop up in my mind while listening: Knight Rider, The Powers of Matthew Star & The A-Team. Particularly because of the selection of chord changes and voicings in many of their intros.

As for the vocals, they present the coloratura of the old Atlantic records in the Zeppelin era. Yet they do present production techniques of the 90s Britpop such as the intervals for its harmonizations.

Yes, there is a definitive chaos of decades, styles and resources here, but they do work somehow. Got to say, It’s great at creating microclimates, engendered by the counter position of unexpected chords and sections. For moments it encompasses a sense of avant-garde with sexual wearing…. I would definitely use this record for a perfume ad-campaign.

From the lyrical point of view

Many of the lyrics crafted for this album appeal to the usage of moving imagery. Also drawing upon recurring topics of personal encounters, clashes, and cosmology (but from a spiritual standpoint). These elements are used in conjunction to develop a sense of a “Bigger than life” passion. One observation only: Some of the vocals were located off-beat on purpose. At first glance, this device really clashed with me, but that’s what experimental music is about, isn’t it? Breaking the rules.

Of course, describing a whole album is kind of silly if you don’t do reference to the individual pieces of it. Here I give you some short notes I took while listening to it.

Grasping Infinity
Feels like we are being lured to a cosmic treat. Giorgio would be proud of this arpeggios.

Where the Stars are Scattered
Who brought the guys of Tame Impala to the studio?

Chromosphere
Evoque the long lost dream of experimental synthpop. That sci-fi voice!

Argentum Dreams
Gets more Pop. The 80s are back baby! Here we have the most worked-out vocals in from a production point of view, it takes the song some decades up the lane. The clearest case of mix-match generational music.

Solar Emotion
More progressive, the melodies & vocals do not conclude melodically, sense of continuity, a journey. Nice play of the ping-pong echo for the voices. Superb job of the drums.

Transmission from Cobby Base
Savage use of the LFO. Nice bongos dude (or dudette)!

You Draw Me Near
The repetitive Motif is the backbone of the whole concept, in an ever-growing momentum chase. The lyrics remind us of what are we being drawn into.

Illuminated
The most Melancholic track of the album for sure. This song was definitely been written in the patio of a bar, no questions asked about it. The electric piano definitively sustains the whole feeling of longing under the night sky. A perfect companion for the message delivered by the vocals.

Celestial Beings
The experimental, more serious clone of “Where the Stars are Scattered”. Nice rework here.

Buy Argentum Dreams on Bandcamp

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