photos by Francesca De Franceschi Manzoni
THE MON, the solo project of Ufomammut’s Urlo, is preparing to release its second album, Eye, through Supernatural Cat Records in May. Today, BrooklynVegan is hosting a premiere of an animated video for the album’s second single, “Confession,” featuring Neurosis’ Steve Von Till.
By comparison to its predecessor, Doppelleben, THE MON’s Eye LP is more introspective and denser, the new record built around electronic soundscapes and acoustic atmospheres that take you on a sonic journey where the songs flow nonstop into one another. While Urlo performs the entire musical foundation of the album, he is joined by a cast of special guests, with vocal/lyrical contributions from Steve Von Till (Neurosis), Colin H. Van Eeckhout (Amenra), and Francesca De Franceschi Manzoni, as well as violins from Sarah Pendleton (Subrosa, The Otolith), and guitars from David W (White Hills).
Eye was written, performed, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Urlo at The Howl, Italy, and the artwork completed by the Malleus Rock Art Lab collective. While choosing a singular genre for THE MON’s Eye is surely a difficult challenge, one could classify the album as heavy dark folk electronic.
Urlo writes with the “Confession” premiere, “When I was in the middle of creating Eye, I thought it would have been cool to ask some friends if they wanted to join me and play something on it. I was so happy when Steve Von Till told me he was in. Steve is what I would call a ‘maestro’ in Italian; It means ‘master, but also ‘teacher.’ When I sent ‘Confession’ to him, the song was just guitars, some synths, a repetitive arpeggio and the final vocals, looping the same phrase over and over. He wrote the lyrics, sang, and added synths and atmosphere to the entire track. He taught me some tricks too, and it’s been great to share music in this way. He also suggested some ideas for mixing, and it was amazing to have him forge this song with me.”
Urlo elaborates on the video for “Confession” which was created by Malleus, “I wanted to do something special for ‘Confession’ and I put myself on the video, drawing like hell for days, to make this short story happen. I know it’s not a ‘Disney clip,’ but I think the atmosphere of the song reflects perfectly in it and I’m extra proud of this amazing collaboration with Steve.”
Steve Von Till adds, “When Urlo asked if I would contribute to a track on his upcoming album, I was honored and didn’t hesitate. He and I have been friends for many years now and I consider us to be part of an extended global musical family. As a member of the art collective Malleus, he has designed many posters for Neurosis over the years. They even designed a poster for my wedding. His band, Ufomammut, has toured with Neurosis and our label, Neurot Recordings, has released their last five albums. In other words, we have history.”
He continues, “The basic track he sent for ‘Confession’ had the title, and contained a very simple yet haunting repeating figure that instantly suggested the fundamental vocal melody. I processed the entire basic track through filters, delays, and reverbs, distilling it into a cloudlike texture that would suggest other less obvious harmonics to incorporate. The words came quickly and naturally. Like so many of my lyrics, they were not premeditated, and I am not completely sure what they mean, but reading them now, they do imply some sort of internal conflict. Metaphorically hunting oneself down and putting oneself on trial, to be held responsible for some guilt we all suffer. As if Mother Earth herself has been embodied and subjected by us all to what amounts to a witch trial, and we are all burning her and ultimately ourselves at the stake. But that’s just what it feels like today. Tomorrow it may be different.”
BrooklynVegan calls “Confession,” “a haunting, droning song…”
Experience THE MON’s “Confession” featuring Steve Von Till first at BrooklynVegan RIGHT HERE.
Supernatural Cat will release Eye on limited 12” Blue and Red vinyl variants, digipak CD, and all digital services on May 26th. Find preorders now at the label webshop HERE and Bandcamp HERE, and see the previously issued “Where” video HERE.
Watch for additional audio and video previews of Eye to be issued over the weeks ahead.
THE MON is the solo project of Urlo, who is most widely known as the lead vocalist, bassist, synth player and one of the founding members of the heavy psych Italian band Ufomammut. He is also one of the three minds behind the poster art trio Malleus Rock Art Lab, and one of the operators of Supernatural Cat Records. The aim of THE MON is to reach the boundaries of a spiritual soundscape in which the music becomes purification and atonement, a way to bring out the world that is inside the human soul. Where Ufomammut creates mind-expanding, heavy psychedelic, almost other-dimensional sounds, THE MON is far more intimate, looking inward, as Urlo explores and examines his innermost thoughts through music. THE MON builds layers of brooding sounds which sometimes unfurl at a glacial pace and other times lurch with rhythmic propulsion, each piece distinct, densely packed, and all-consuming in their evocative atmospheres.
THE MON released its debut LP, Doppelleben, in 2018, and has since released a digital audio/video EP My Rotten Heart featuring Colin H. Van Eeckhout (Amenra). Now, 2023 sees the project prepared to release its second LP, Eye.