Giovanni Leonardi – Monarch

Published by Davide Pappalardo on April 2, 2018

giovanni leonardi-monarch.jGiovanni Leonardi is a very busy musician: not only a member of Carnera, Siegfried and Divisione Sehnsucht, but even a solo artist which has already released his debut The alchemist organizer only some months before his second output Monarch. Under his own name he uses dub, ambient, industrial music, experimental electronics, in order to give us a developing trilogy which, with its second chapter, expresses concepts linked to mind control.

Specifically, the main theme is the so called Monarch Project, rumored to be developed by the CIA under the Project MK ULTRA in order to enslave key figures in society, preparing the common people for a “satanic age”. So, themes of conspiracies, hidden agendas, secret agencies, are the thematic foundations of the work, and accordingly the music is minimal, cold, and full of tension, like a cinematic soundscape for a movie about the aforementioned conspiracy theories.

Mk ultra starts our listening experience with abrasive loops and oniric layers of sounds, conjuring an almost cosmic crescendo with ethereal synth sounds and static disturbances. Blips and broken rhythms add IDM passages, guiding us toward the next track called Handler: here vocal samples, dub rhythms and electronics hypnotize us while a steady, distorted drum develops a militant structure. The track grows slowly, full of paranoia and serpentine atmospheres, even indulging in old-school motifs and syncopated marches.

Sex kitten plays with 70’s electronics and dub-industrial rhythmic structures, maintaining a psychedelic quality linked to ambient layers and a minimal usage of keys. Harsh, crispy sounds and elegant soundscapes complete each others in a compelling track. Over the rainbow is a dream-like sequence soon reached by an enthralling rhythmic pattern giving bone to the ambient electronics; once again we have the soundscape for an imaginary70’s movie about spies, conspiracies, and much more.

The title track is throbbing affair with an industrial edge, completed by vocal samples and scratches, a lysergic sound which obsessively follows its pattern. Chaotic passages underline the caustic nature of the track, while the rhythm stays true to itself, always steady. Frattura adds minimal-techno micro rhythms to the equation, a slow and crawling episode with droning bass sounds and shrilling soundwaves, once again a vivid soundscape perfectly encompassing the theme of the album, even by using epic and emotional keys in the second part of the song.

An elegant and intelligent work in which dub, ambient, industrial, electronic music, minimal structures, are used in order to display the various meaning to mind control and the themes associated with this peculiar argument. References to techniques, movies about the argument, conspiracies can be found in the titles of the tracks, and the atmosphere of the whole album is lysergic and dreamy, but disturbed by sharper and abrasive elements. Treat yourself with a listening session of this work, which will enslave you in its world made of sounds.

Label: Old Europa Cafe

Rating: 7