|It doesn’t seem like it, but it’s been ten years since the first 12″ from Bavarian electronica collective Console. ‘Mono’ is their debut LP on the Disko B imprint, having previously released albums on Virgin (‘Reset the Preset’) and on the seminal indie Matador (‘‘Rocket in the Pocket’). They’ve also collaborated with Bjork and Depeche Mode, which gives you a hint of their tendency towards the dark and introspective. Members Axel Fischer, Christoph Brandner, Michael Schwaiger, Miriam Osterrieder and Anton Kaun join Martin Gretschmann for this intriguing and at times melancholic meander.This album does not resemble ‘electro-pop’ in the slightest: Console texture their atmospheres into a soft melodic pulse and surround them with smooth layers of noise. Tracks like ‘By This River’, ‘Magnolia’ and ‘Starpower’ exploit the beautiful instrument that is Mirriam Osterrieder’s voice, which also emerges, if only as a whisper, at other points on the album. This is perfect downtime music to pacify the mind when all else seems to fail.
‘City of Dog’ is my personal fave; it would sit well in a chillout mix from the likes of Chris Coco. Elsewhere ‘Lost in Sensation’ induces sleep, but not out of boredom. There’s no sign of a struggle anywhere on this album – it’s an electric lullaby.
‘Mono’ flickers between this ambience and a lost vagueness resembling something like pop. There’s even cover versions of Brian Eno (‘By this River’) and Sonic Youth (‘Starpower’), performed with a gentle Console flow without any sense of overdoing the deeper tones. These Bavarians seem to draw influence from Depeche Mode, in particular from tracks like ‘Darkest Star’ on their recent ‘Playing the Angel’ album, and you could even draw other connections, perhaps to someone like James Holden, currently toying with downtempo electronica. It’d be interesting to see what he’d do with some of these tracks if a remix was offered.
‘Mono’ is a contemplative offering in a world gone seemingly mad at times, reminding us that we are a mere blip on the big screen.