CD Review

Techix – “Monosymphonic”

By Marcus Pan

MonosymphonicTechix is Oklahoma's answer to outfits like One For Jude. Justin Jones, I'm assuming a classical violinist, attempts to merge modern sensibilities in music with string ensembles from classical origins. The results can be considered interesting, but the music itself can become quite cacophonous within its design. Released on AntiClock Records, Monosymphonic can annoy and fake you into thinking Stradivarius went tripping.

I have truly mixed feelings about this Oklahoma artist. On the one hand the mixtures of classical and experimental modern are refreshingly interesting and at times Justin's playing is quite good. On the other, I find a lot of flaws with the experimentation sections. While the violin of Justin Jones is certainly highly astute and trained, the dissonance he forcefully creates with his clashing sharp notes against one another on bow pulls creates havoc on the ear and mind.

The opening track, Silver Flame, is not a bad piece and stays strongly in the classical realm, but the dissonant notation and arrangement is there for a good portion of it, most notably in the earlier moments. The mixing done later also clashes sharp and flat, creating not a "monosymphonic" but multiple-note mish mash tone, really, but notations very close, half-step like, from one another that the results are very dissonant to the ears.

Bhodi's Last Breath opens with light guitar joined later by off-kilter violin which doesn't meet together at all with the previous instrument. Instead they kind of rail at each other, the guitar strumming scales light and monotonous while the violin walks cacophony across the strings against it. Unpleasant at best as the two shall not ever meet musically. Yellowjacket meanwhile calls up thoughts of Flight of the Bumblebee, since we're traipsing in a classical daze to begin with. Indeed it turns out to be a brilliantly written and played violin solo that would please most any old world music collector.

While the violin of Overdamped is decently played, the half assed percussion makes it boorish, uninteresting and steals heavily away from the violin. Likewise with Narge, which actually comes out sounding silly with its floaty string slides layed against a backdrop of breath-like rhythm which, again, doesn't at all complement one another. Drumrah is just as uncomplementary.

Boklock returns the strumming and boring guitar and that's about it. Dead After All utilizes the same guitar technique and similar strains, but adds Justin's violin over top to a nice effect. The synth washes that hover through make the track seem lucid but nice. Tear of Dust tries something similar with ghostly effects in the synths and instead comes out silly. We remain similarly silly through to the end of Monosymphonic.

Techix has taken on a huge responsibility with the combination of modern and classical elements they are attempting. And while Justin's violin work is quite good, his arrangements – percussive attempts most notably – fall far short of becoming a solid track. The elements he combines need to complement one another and not become as haphazard together as they are now. Justin might be better off sticking to being a classical violinist and let others with a better ear at musical arrangement handle the other elements handle those areas.

Contact Information:
AntiClock Records
Post: 915 W. 26th St., Stillwater, OK, 74074, USA