MONKOORA – Dawn
Hot Gem Tunes
Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/hotgemtunes/monkoora-dawn
Innovative Scottish folktronica artist Monkoora prepares to release her new mini LP ‘Pale Slopes’ on 29th April via experimental electronic label Hot Gem Tunes.
The moniker of 22-year-old Glasgow-based producer, singer and visual artist Julie Crawford, Monkoora’s forward-thinking approach to music sees her blend rusty saws, autoharps, whistles and detuned ukuleles with lucid beats and sweeping vocal harmonies for a sound like no other. Taking elements of hip hop, ambient and psychedelic rock and brewing them in her cotton candy cauldron, ‘Pale Slopes’ is a collection of seven infectious pop songs achieved through her obscured lens.
Opener ‘Hiding Behind Horizons’, which will be accompanied by soon-to-be-revealed visuals, sets the tone for the mini album with its ominous organ tones, laying the foundations for Monkoora’s muffled vocals to emerge amidst pattering claps, kick drums and warped synths reminiscent of The Knife. In Julie’s own words, “The song is about finding your way when situations get murky, particularly when you’re in a committed relationship but afraid of where it’s going – so it’s like holding hands in the dark.”
Following the characteristically mystical yet empowering ‘Catch With A Crystal Ball’, ‘To Run’ features a driving, tribal beat over which flows nonsensical ethereal female chanting, progressing through whistling electronics and a sped-up drum loop which mimics the sound of galloping horses: an organic reflection of the track’s carefree nature. Whilst ’Invisible Kites’ is a ‘freeing of the form’ number, led by a fluttering piano ostinato and 80s synth bass, ‘Polly Anne Morris’ is dark and dancey. With house and eurodance influences, the title is a play on the word ‘polyamorous’ – yet Julie is quick to point out that “Polly’s Palace is not a sex dungeon. It’s more of a mental place where female sexuality fights to exist outside of society’s gender roles and expectations, yet contradicts its motives in an attempt to be accepted.”
The otherworldly sound bubbles and pleasant lilting melody of ‘Dark Don’t Frighten Me’ samples ‘03 Untitled’ by Panda Bear, before the release closes with lead single ‘Dawn’; a more traditional melodic pop affair showcasing a dreamy combination of 80s-inflected electronics and Monkoora’s impressive, crystal-clear vocal range.
A true artist whose talents know no bounds, Julie’s love for creating drama and atmosphere in her work has recently seen her compose all the music for four short ‘Survivor’ films for Rape Crisis, while she is currently working on her own part stop-motion, part-live action existentialist short film.
Since teaching herself piano at the age of 15 and experimenting with music software, Monkoora has spent several years developing her song craft and production skills – and with ‘Pale Slopes’, she has digitally orchestrated a witches’ brew of musical diversity. In the universe she conjures, we are given the front row to a bodily experience characterised by ghostly tunes, blissful crooning and melodies which are sure to linger long after listening.