Belgian one-man outfit Monnik (Dutch for ‘monk’) debuts with Vondeling (which means ‘foundling’) on the magic / magisterial label ConSouling Sounds. That choice isn’t an accidental coincidence at all, for this solo-outlet by Charnia’s vocalist Thibaud perfectly fits to this label’s roster. Charnia too houses on ConSouling Sounds’ glorious list of majestic projects (please do not hesitate to read the review I wrote for their superior untitled EP; see update October 12th 2014), but there is quite a difference in between both acts and their respective releases.
Anyway, this album consists of two pieces, respectively twenty two and sixteen minutes of length, that are somewhat characteristic for the label: transcendental and open-minded stuff with more depth than the deepest abysses within the Pacific (or Atlantic) ocean.
The opening title track starts with a freezing cool, yet at the same time emotional acoustic introduction, and this for quite some time. It’s after almost four minutes that some monotonous and distant synth-passage enters, before this integrity gets some additional … Nope, I’m dwelling afar from the main matter. The piece slowly, very slowly builds up, even though for quite some time there is nothing that really enriches the core – and at the same time it does. After about eight minutes, Vondeling explores other aural dimensions, still based on those fabulous yet nihilistic acoustic guitar melodies, yet forced with parallel looping sounds. There’s another reconstruction after eleven minutes, throwing the whole essence back to escapist minimalism (read: droning nihilism) of a, well, why not, meditative approach. Towards the end, the fragility of aural minimalism gets to its peak, searching for a symbiosis of the initial mysticism and inherent spirituality.
Het Vlakke Land, the second track, starts pretty comparable, yet this composition goes much further, both atmosphere-wise and seen from aural point of view. Initially, this track is based too on hypnotic drone lines, yet much more of the Aidan Baker-kind, i.e. with those mesmerizing elements that characterize subtlety and professionalism. The whole turns towards a sphere more grim and ominous because of the synth loops at the background, like a distant thunderstorm that is slowly, ominously approaching… Here too, there’s a minimal nihilism in sonic approach, but compared to the opening track, there’s much more intensity and asphyxiating content. There is more of an ambient noise-attitude on top of the Drone supremacy, and that might make this second composition little more thrilling than the opening track – though undersigned truly adores that first piece as well.