Jonas Munk likes working in subtle sonic textures. When not in Causa Sui as guitarist extraordinaire, Munk works more like a painter than musician in the studio. His solo work, along with his records with Billow Observatory, Ulrich Schnauss, and Nicklas Sorensen, are marked by a decidedly more nuanced approach. Going with the painter scenario, Munk has guitars, synthesizers, and lots of rackmount and pedal effects in his palette and paints swaths of musical art. Subtle, ambient sounds that could be mistaken for new age, but listen closer and there’s much more happening on Jonas Munk’s canvas than just Chakra soundtracks.
Jonas Munk has made two solo albums, beginning with 2012s Pan and then 2015s Absorb Fabric Cascade, both released on El Paraiso Records(which Munk is co-label runner.) Pan moved and pulsated like classic Krautrock, whereas Absorb Fabric Cascade went down the rabbit hole of meditative heavy synth and psychedelic Komische, as well as capturing the spirit of electronic composers like Terry Riley and JD Emmanuel. Despite varying moods and vibes, the sonic connective tissue in all of Munk’s work is his ability to take these varying ideas and musical touches and create a sound quite unique and forward-thinking.
With his newest solo release, which is being released on Munk’s own electronic/ambient record label Azure Vista Records, Jonas Munk uses the guitar with varying effects and turns the six-string into something almost otherworldly sounding. Minimum Resistance is a masterclass in meditative sound and ambient bliss, brought together by Munk’s studio wizardry, boundless compositional creativity, and a drive to transcend music to new and euphoric highs.
On Minimum Resistance Jonas Munk builds sonic structures with guitar and effects that almost resemble ancient halls and cities born of cloud and light. The woozy music elicits dream worlds and hallucinogenic soundscapes that resemble the past, present, and future of what ambient music can truly be.
Here’s what Azure Vista Records has to say about Minimum Resistance:
It’s an immersive album, an invitation for the listener to sink deep into a series of mesmerizing, but peculiarly undefined, moods.
Minimum Resistance celebrates slowness, reclusiveness and simplicity.
Something like “Shadows” builds on the promise of both the “undefined moods” and “reclusiveness”. There’s not a set emotional impact here, as there’s an emotional fluidness here that allows the listener to make it what they want. This is music for solitary moments of contemplation; an afternoon drive along the coast or an evening in thinking about the past. This is indeed immersive music. “Disappear” has more of a stuttering, upbeat movement to it. It’s less a blank sonic slate and more of a “lost in the clouds” sonic adventure. Touches of psychedelic glee outline this track in colorful hues, promising the listener euphoria just around the corner. Lead singles “Sabi” and “Resonance” capture the classic, dense sound Munk has flirted with on Billow Observatory’s revelatory LPs.
These tracks work their way into your psyche. They start to become the hum in your skull when all is quiet and peaceful. A soundtrack to what may seem as mundanity; a subway ride home after a late night, a sun-soaked afternoon working in the yard, or wondering what to do next in a life unfulfilled. Tracks like the sublime “Yesterday’s Sky”, “Eastern Horizon”, and title track “Minimum Resistance” slowly work their magic on our frayed spirits. They lull us into a state of openness, allowing the sonic DNA of the tracks to work some kind of psychic magic on our beings(I told you Jonas Munk is a wizard, man.)
Minimum Resistance isn’t re-inventing ambient music, but its capturing the best of it. Jonas Munk has built a castle made of taffy-stretched guitar and effect-laden tones and invited us to come in and rest awhile. It’s a wonderful place to be.
8.3 out of 10