Bumping up against converging storms of psychedelia, jazz & hip hop sits producer/multi-instrumentalist Gasoline Monk, hunched over a computer, coughing on the dust of secondhand Blue Note records & unraveled cassette tape. One synth sits plugged into a 1970s amp, another’s covered in manuscript paper & Hanon exercises. Out of this all-vintage-everything world comes music just as futuristic & surreal as it is decades old & fingerprint-smudged.
Gasoline Monk produces albums for the people who still enjoy albums more than scattered songs rattling around the internet like loose change. His experiments began in his father’s basement studio, playing every instrument himself. Then came J Dilla, Flying Lotus & the idea that a beat doesn’t have to be a sterile thing that stays in a loop but can unravel as discordantly as a thunderstorm.
Studying in Denmark (where he lived & worked for three years) with Henrik Sundh, Gasoline Monk told his teacher, “I want to take my music off the grid.” He started The Monk Batucada & dove deeper into playing keyboards. & the jazz bloomed in his productions, unconforming jazz à la Herbie Hancock, & damp psychedelia reminiscent of Mars Volta & Soft Machine.
Maybe it was the first time he saw a Dali painting (an artist whose work is now tattooed to his body) of a spider-legged elephant. Or it was a youth built of treating the brain like an astronaut in orbit. Whatever odd journeys took us here, we can be glad he’s landed and gotten to work.
Multi-instrumentalist/producer Gasoline Monk, a Boston native, composed these keyboard-centric tunes with one foot in the language of jazz and the other in the future beat world of dusty, broken drums & machine-based psychedelia. Together, they tell the story of a man crawling up back up from the hole where rock bottom lives. Also, the story of a man taking up chewing gum.
As much inspired by Flying Lotus and the future beat world as it is Herbie Hancock, the album bounces between genres, based upon the principal that no effort should be expended trying to “fit in.”
Gasoline Monk (a student of Stones Throw artist Kiefer) samples no melodic content on any of these songs, instead composing ideas with a gang of keyboards, synths, effect pedals, bass and guitar.