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Album of the month | Monolink - Under Darkening Skies

The German musician probes deep into the ego on Embassy One.

Artist: Monolink
Title: Under Darkening Skies
Label: Embassy One
Released: 11 June

Sounds like: A lone musician embracing the oncoming storm


Monolink

Previously, the featured artists in our album of the month series, have been DJs/electronic music producers. For June, we're switching it up and putting a live musician in the spotlight.

Steffen Linck, better known as Monolink, occupies a niche, one-man sphere within the electronic music landscape. A singer, songwriter and guitarist by profession, to the uninitiated, it might not be clear how his music fits in the party scene.

Marrying guitar chords with synth pads, and sewing them together with thought-provoking lyrics, he is a maverick - an understated one.

Club remixes by ARTBAT and Mathame helped get his music into the ears of a wider audience and meant he was being played everywhere, from the shadowy chamber of Afterlife to the desert House plains of Rock City.

Where Ibiza is concerned, Monolink's story is heavily intertwined with hippie-spirited WooMooN, a party he has headlined a number of times. The slower-pace, outdoor setting and participative crowd present the ideal backdrop to this one-of-a-kind stage act. Folktronica, let's call it.

For that reason, his new LP might well appeal more to indie kids than the current generation of clubbers.


Under Darkening Skies

When we sense the impending waves of change, it usually presents itself as a weariness towards the unknown, leaving us anxious and unprepared.

2020 saw humanity plunged into the unknown. As a global health crisis gripped the world, dark clouds gathered over the entertainment industry. Change had been thrust upon us.

Instead of having a self-absorbed meltdown or looking to undermine the response effort, Monolink turned a negative situation to the best of his advantage. The forced halt to touring facilitated an opportunity to write an album. Under Darkening Skies is the result.

Monolink at WooMooN in less stormy times

Against the backdrop of a world in turmoil, the album sees Monolink search for answers amid the disarray.

Monolink has dealt with the theme of new beginnings before. Take his 2018 debut LP, Amniotic. If that album was a metaphor for new life, then this follow-up could be interpreted about rebirth or, rather, adaptation and reinvention.

Symbolic references to being in free-fall and suffocation appear at several points.

Despite touching on these dark themes, Under Darkening Skies is not a bleak album. Instead, it seeks to find understanding in the challenges we face.

Cova Santa about to be taken on an enchanted journey

In keeping with the spiritual ethos the artist is known for, he covers animism (Harlem River), psychoactive enlightenment (Otherside), habitual and self-destructive behaviour (Into The Glow).

Introspection, personal growth and the internal battles of self-doubt that rage within are all examined, while on Reflections he commentates on his solipsism.

Monolink has deliberately placed renewed emphasis on songwriting for this project, avoiding the temptation to include vocals merely as a tool for the beat. His words carry meaning, without being overly metaphorical or being taboo purely for the sake of controversy.

Under Darkening Skies is also a pure artist album. There's no featured artists to be found on any of the 11 tracks, although you can bet that remixers have lined-up to get involved.

Already higher-tempo remixes have been turned in by the likes of Mind Against.

With Cova Santa announcing a run of opening parties, as part of project restart, we sincerely hope that WooMooN forms part of the programme. The next ask, is that Monolink is also involved.

Change is good. But so is the warm embrace of familiarity. The storm clouds are clearing. What comes next, is the calm that follows.

Highlights: Don't Hold Back, The Prey, Into The Glow, Otherside

Under Darkening Skies is out now and available to stream and download at all the usual places.

To discover more music the Ibiza Spotlight team are enjoying right now, head over to our Spotify profile and click subscribe!

IMAGE | by Lisa Wassmann


Other huge albums released this month:

Miguel Migs | Shaping Vision | Soulfuric Deep | 4 June
Third Son | Retrograde | Polymath | 4 June
Folamour | The Journey | FHUO | 11 June
Eli & Fur | Found In The Wild | Anjunadeep | 25 June
Gorgon City | Olympia | Astralwerks | 25 June
Mark Knight | Untold Business | Toolroom Records | 25 June


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