There are few artists that can handle themselves as effortlessly in front of and behind the board as Jonas Munk. Over twenty years of writing and recording, first in the electronic project Manual in the late 90s/early 2000s, then as guitarist for Causa Sui, and beyond that a collaborator with a who’s who list of exceptional artists, Munk has created a canon of work that is easily prolific. Along the way he’s become a studio wizard, mastering most of the output of his record label El Paraiso Records and in turn cultivating a magical well of skill and intuition when it comes to sonic manipulation in the studio.
Though he may be known more for his guitar work in the mighty Causa Sui and their brand of chugging psych rock, there’s an evocative musical landscape he’s equally in tune with. Munk’s solo records have stayed very much in the realm of ambient/komische/new age synth/guitar. Pan was a textural dream, filled with Neu! and Kraftwerk Krautrock, while Absorb Fabric Cascade felt like a blanket of ambient clouds and Berlin School headiness. Recording with the electronic music genius Ulrich Schnauss, the music was brighter but equally indebted to both 70s German electronic pioneers and early 80s digital pop confectioners. But with his work with Jason Kolb(of Auburn Lull) in Billow Observatory, Munk found a way to make ambient and new age music almost psychedelic. A patchwork of guitar and synth blended into a sonic blanket of obscure emotions and hallucinatory quiet.
Jonas Munk will be releasing his newest solo album on February 21st. Minimum Resistance will be coming out on his Azure Vista label, and from the sound of the two singles, “Resonance” and “Sabi”, he’s taking everything he’s learned and putting it all to great use.
Both tracks follow the dreamy, gauzy path of his work with Billow Observatory, but with Munk using guitar and manipulating it into these cotton-y swaths of noise. These are songs to fall into and embrace their ambiguity. There’s a sense of ease and quiet meditation with both songs. Where “Resonance” shows us some of where it came from as the guitar is shown upfront in distant notes, albeit transformed with Munk’s studio wizardry, “Sabi” is less apparent as to its sonic origins. It’s an unknown quantity of musical magic, put through a stack of glowing machines and brimming tubes that regurgitate a noise not unlike the conception of a galaxy; the sound of creation and beautiful degradation.
Minimum Resistance comes out Februrary 21st on Azure Vista Records. Listen to “Resonance” and “Sabi” below, and preorder the record over at Azure Vista’s Bandcamp page.