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Monolake

Monolake were among the most acclaimed and enduring artists to arise from the Berlin-based Basic Channel/Chain Reaction label group, run by Moritz "Maurizio" von Oswald and home to such champions of minimalist dub-techno austerity as Vainqueur, Substance, and Porter Ricks. Monolake initially consisted of Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles, but Behles departed during the early 2000s to run Ableton, the music software company that both producers established in 1999. For a stretch, Henke was Monolake's lone member, but in 2004 he was joined by Torsten Pröfrock, who had previously recorded for Chain Reaction as Various Artists and Resilent. No matter the membership, Monolake's output always sat at the intersection between abstract computer music and the more dance-derived techno redux of their early Chain Reaction labelmates.

Behles studied formally at Utrecht's Institute of Sonology (a noted fount of electronic experimentation formed in the late '60s by Stan Tempelaars and Gottfried Michael Koenig). Behles and Henke met at Berlin's Technical University, where Behles taught and Henke was studying sound engineering for film. Monolake formed somewhat by accident, when a first round of collaborative improvising in the studio led to a handful of tracks from which their first single, "Cyan," was soon pressed. A number of follow-up releases appeared in 1995 and 1996, with the best of these eventually joining new material on the 1997 CD release Hongkong, an important release both for Chain Reaction (it's widely considered the label's finest) and Monolake (whose previously vinyl-only 12" releases reached a somewhat small, specialist audience).

Beginning with 1999's "Fragile" 12", almost every Monolake release was issued through Henke's Imbalance Computer Music label. If not as groundbreaking as the earlier releases, the albums Interstate (1999), Cinemascope (2001), Gravity (2001), Momentum (2003), Polygon Cities (2005), and Silence (2009) were uniformly excellent -- brisk, vibrant, and steely home-listening techno at its best, rich with details. In addition to his prolific release schedule throughout these years (he also issued several solo-in-name titles), Henke remained a software developer at Ableton and was also a mastering engineer at Berlin's revered Dubplates & Mastering facility. ~ Sean Cooper & Andy Kellman, Rovi
full bio

Comments

lataraholley 2 9
Love it!
This is my s**t!
And here's another interesting aspect: The way that Behles and Henke worked together shaped Ableton, which is the most important music software to emerge from the techno landscape. The freer electronic music after Ableton wouldn't have been possible without it -- early Vladimir Delay,, Michael Zorn, etc. And pro engineers I know have always loved Ableton's soft effects. Aphex was involved in the development as well. Behles and Henke have taste.
Monolake has been Robert Henke for a very long time. The *they* aspect is what's in the past. In the very beginning Gerhard Behles was involved (1995-2000), but the main aesthetic always came from Henke. And the music really is original if you consider they were recording on the Basic Channel label in 1997. No one else had that perfect sculpted sound with everything in its perfect place in the stereo field -- not back then.
it seems that the wave burst thruster is joyfully heard here
The review is rather strange, it states that they WERE a group, yet they
have a release from as recent as 2009. Are they still around?
Nice. Reminds me of the 90's trance/ambie n t / t r i p hop scene (which I suppose it is...)
Great group, not all of their songs seem that original but the good ones they have are pretty sweet <3

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