King Mono is the band / production duo of Little Shalimar (né Torbitt Schwartz) and Jeremy Wilms. The two met doing time in the rhythm section of the legendary afrobeat unit Antibalas. In the early 2000s they founded the sophisticated disco-soul machine Chin Chin who put out two records on the now defunct Definitive Jux record label. Combining elements of funk, RnB, house, dance hall, hip hop, and '70s big beat rock, King Mono’s sound should be welcomed by fans of other genre bending futurists like Pharrell Williams and Little Dragon.
Their debut album, Bump In The Night, is set to make its mark on Tummy Touch and features vocals from RnB breakout singer Jesse Boykins III. The album embraces their quirky electronic impulses, modern programming, and psychedelic mushrooms, crafted from a collection of vintage analogue synths and portable drum machines. King Mono gave a taste of their sound with last year’s Straight to VHS EP that picked up steam on Bandcamp and through magazines like FACT and Okayplayer.
Other than the implicative album title, the idea of nighttime as a space to do things that you wouldn’t do during the day lends itself to the experimental and loose “anything goes” vibe of the producers' output. Instrumental tracks like “Big Bass Drum” have an overarching dark, heady vibe that seems more suited a for a solo night drive. Touching more on a song-based structure, "Ointment" skips along in a light and breezy be-bop fashion with fat guitars providing a resonating low end. Organs and keys reign supreme on "Infamous Van" while suggestive lyrics take the listener on a ride through simpler adolescent times. But don't try and relegate this one to the backseat … it needs more room than that.
“Pet Peeves” is Shalimar’s take on a sound inspired by Missy Elliott and Timbaland's mid-2000s collaborations, buoyed by Boykin’s raw vocals -- RnB with cutting edge production and enough style to carry itself into pop territory. It gets a completely new lease on life from Sunrise Highway, the trio of Tim Wagner, Amy Douglas, and Nick Chacona, each with their own strong New York City pedigrees. Atmospheric, sophisticated, broad, layered, and evolving are all accurate descriptors of their work which lies somewhere between Italo-disco and the best of '80s songwriting.
If these peculiar tracks are anything to go off of for the album, then listeners might expect to stumble across some brighter moments of enjoyment on this strange trip through the dark.
Kid Loco - "F%^king great."
Tensnake - "That Sunrise Highway remix of 'Pet Peeves' is top."
Vanilla Ace - "Very funky it's like NERD meets Funkadelic."
Kraak & Smaak - "We like it!"
All Good Funk Alliance - "Nice. This is like Outkast meets Beck. All of these songs are dope."
Ivan Smagghe (It's A Fine Line) - "I love 'Ointment'."
Ilya Santana (Eskimo Recordings) - "That Sunrise Highway remix is very special … nice version."
Roy Dank (Beg to Differ / Wurst Music Co.) - "Cool vibes!"
Telonius (Gomma) - "Tummy Touch is one of my favorite labels … great album!"
Walter Jones (DFA / Under the Shade) - "I love the quirky vibe … nice release."
Robert Lochmann (The Jazzmadass Radioshow) - "A cool, fun, and mysterious sound."
Matt Haze (More SF / Slayers Club) - "It's like Pharrell on mushrooms. 'Pet Peeves' will be great for the warm weather."
Diesler (A Little Something) - "Loving the Sunrise Highway remix -- oh yessss!"
DJ Doubles (Freestyle Fusion) - "An intricate combo of catchy melodies with a feel-good pop mentality … this makes me happy!"