• Gwarden

EP Review: Monika - Pogo [Music Monika]

Christchurch-based producer and DJ Maxwell Monika has been on the rise lately, with liquidy releases on UK labels Soulvent and Fokuz. Self-releasing for the first time, Monika delivers an incredibly assured EP with a range of sounds to suit fans of multiple subgenres.

Leading the EP is the cheeky Oh No Pogo, a stomping roller dominated by a stabby riff that’s sure to get stuck in your head. Clearly designed to get the dancefloor moving, the combination of finely calibrated breaks and rising tension provided by the ever-looping riff ensures ravers will get lost in this one.

Observer Effect, featuring prominent Christchurch liquid DJ Andy Zero on one of his first production credits, is a tightly constructed stepper with a central squelchy chord progression that swirls and mutates around warm, punchy bass. Atmospheric FX bubble in the background, lending an air of menace to an otherwise bouncy tune.

The EP is rounded off by Storm, reverbed melodies pinging off a haunting Portishead vocal, rumbling bass propelling the listener along a deep, soulful journey. It’s followed by a sultry Silence Groove remix of the same tune, adding reece bass and a breakbeat to take the vibe even moodier without losing the neon-drenched shimmer of the original.

Overall this release immediately marks Monika and his new label as ones to watch. Special mention must be made of the funky artwork by Dan Eshleman, bold colours and wavy design complementing the upfront nature of the two lead tracks. With tunes for both the dancefloor and the headphones, it’s got something for everyone.

Available from 5th June 2020 on bandcamp.

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