Monkoora is the newest addition to Glasgow's Hot Gem Tunes, a label regular readers will know is home to some of the finest electronic music you can hear at the moment. Monkoora, a solo project of 22 year old Glasgow based multi instrumentalist Julie Crawford, is a blend of experimental sounds, ambient textures and soaring, haunting vocals all of which combine to make Pale Slopes, her debut mini album, a fascinating and quite enchanting release.
What immediately strikes you about Pale Slopes are the vocals. Throughout the record, they stand out, ethereal, powerful and incredibly striking. The brilliant opener Hiding Behind Horizons is a sparse electronic track with an organ drone running through it but layered over that are vocal line upon vocal line, intertwining with each other, creating a dark yet uplifting track that starts proceedings off wonderfully.
The standout track for me is the magnificent Catch With A Crystal Ball. Imagine Kate Bush fronting Yazoo instead of Alison Moyet - this track is what you'd get. It sounds just like that and, upon hearing it, you wonder why no-one has ever done that sort of thing before. It's certainly what you might call the album's poppiest moment and it's a track you want to hear. There are many styles whose influences you can detect on Pale Slopes. For example, To Run mixes a tribal type beat with angular detuned synths and Cocteau Twins like vocals, while Polly Anne Morris moves towards experimental electronica. The closing Dawn Mastered has the clearest vocals here ("I want to feel this heat/Again and again/With all of my friends"), emerging like a burst of sun through the haze of the preceding tracks, ending the album majestically.
For a label as young as Hot Gem Tunes, high standards have already been set and those standards have to be lived up to. Pale Slopes does just that and if this mini album is an example of what Monkoora is capable of, this is an artist to watch.
Pale Slopes by Monkoora is out now on Hot Gem Tunes and is available digitally on Boomkat, Juno and ITunes. Monkoora's debut live show will be at The Old Hairdresser's, Glasgow on 15 June
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