Opinion Review

The Loneliest Monk: Wung

Little is more progressive and simultaneously captivating in the local music scene than the oxymoron of contemporary-jazz-electronica that James Nevin and Christian Chandler of The Loneliest Monk have come to create. The Cape Town-based duo, both current and prospective music students at UCT, just released their debut album somewhat abruptly but relieving. Although most of their material may center around a particularly repetitive timbre, dynamic or progressive hook, the abundant blue and unresolved leading notes scattered throughout “Wung” make the album just that more unprecedented, like contentment and anticipation coexist.

Lured into a nonchalant arrangement of cars hooting, steps hustling and the usual, expected sounds of a CBD, a smooth jazz-esque, lounge-like dynamic sneakily creeps into ‘Intro’. As if the listener is stepping into a casual jamboree full of social company free of tension, the moderato-paced, syncopated beats and piano-driven, experimental melody create just the right, loose ambience. Not forgetting about those notoriously unresolved leading notes, the commencement of “Wung” evokes just the right amount of suspense.

Follow-up’s ‘Nah Dis’, ‘Dig’ and ‘Blue Suprimo’ encompass similar characteristics of disorienting, tasteful electronic beats along with unconstrained piano-driven lines, as if the melody’s a single entity frolicking in a meadow of experimental, thick, fairly independent and psychedelic bass. Closer ‘Ha, Du! We Da Ba!’, albeit the group’s least progressive track on “Wung”, best summates the album’s multiple facets of captivation, hallucination and, considering the immense amount of effort put in, an ironically mindless appearance.

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Listen to “Wung” below.