Chris Long aka Monolithium has lived in relative isolation his entire life. Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Long indulged in Swedish math metal, about as sonically distant from the melodic footwork of his sophomore “Bounce 4 Life” EP as you can get. Of course, he was also a true school hip-hop head and fostered a devotion to “Funcrusher Plus”-era Company Flow. At 19, Long left Winnipeg (for gold or maybe musical salvation) and ended up in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, the Westernmost point in Canada. Eventually he starting DJing and ended up founding the Sub|division party (which just celebrated its 3rd anniversary) he runs along with Eames and Rhythmicon. Soon after, Long jumpstarted his production career, hooked up with Error Broadcast and thus Monolithium was born.
Stream: Monolithium – Bounce 4 Life (Error Broadcast)
Long’s debut came in the form of 2011’s “Simon & G-Funk” EP, an uneven effort that reflected his disparate influences and sponge-like attitude. There was a fair deal of glitchy dubstep and garish hip-hop percussion, but the true highlights came in the form of futuristic soul arrangements à la Dam-Funk. If nothing else, the EP established Monolithium as a fearless leader in an increasingly genre-less world. Long spent the rest of 2011 fine-tuning his live set and performing tracks from “Simon & G-Funk” at festivals like Decibel and Mutek.
Stream: Monolithium & Prison Garde – Pavillionaire (Error Broadcast)
The “Bounce 4 Life” EP (out now on Error Broadcast) represents both the logical next step for Long as well as a massive upswing in the general quality of his productions. While most artists who borrow from Chicago’s footwork tradition offer a watered down version of the original music, Monolithium’s heavily melodic take is malleable enough to avoid being a simple derivative. The title track is a frantic, heavily layered attempt that juxtaposes chunky synth stabs with silky vocal arrangements. The futuristic sound balances simple R&B sensibility with rapid-fire percussion – something easier said than done. Percolating synths give the listener the sensation of being on a centripetal force ride – utterly drawn into the chaos while simultaneously stuck in the groove of the simple drum pattern. “Pavillionaire”, Long’s collaboration with fellow ‘Nuck Prison Garde, is a trance sampling exhibition in tasteful 808 use. Again, sampled vocals aid the emotive ebb and flow of the track, diffusing the sample from its sugary beginnings. ‘It boy’ of the moment Ryan Hemsworth provides the EP’s stand out remix (although H-SIK’s galactic dub is a sight to behold), slowing down “Bounce 4 Life” and adding layer after layer of glossy synths. By my count this was Hemsworth’s 5,679th remix of the year, but the dude just doesn’t take a break and clearly puts a great deal of effort and time into each and every release.
“Bounce 4 Life” is out now on Error Broadcast.