Original copies of Monopol’s sole album will set you back a piece, but thankfully Medical is here to get you in on the cheap. The German band’s 1982 LP was steeped in a collision of Krautrock propulsion and synth textures that speak to a love of Kraftwerk, Cluster and Klaus Schulze, cementing a crystallization of German progressive influences gone pop. They also dig into the same mechanical menagerie of sounds that popped up in Lunapark and The Units, echoing their robotik fun park vibes, tough it’s less likely that those seeped into Monopol’s sound so much as came up concurrently from the same wellsprings. The band was purely a studio concoction, never playing live gigs, save for a few television performances around the album’s release, but they used the studio to its fullest extent as a laboratory for synth.
As is all too common, this would end up being the band’s only outing due to a rift and breakup shortly after its release. While the members didn’t go on to contribute to other musical projects, they stayed on in the music industry in other capacities. The record is a playgound of textures and remains a pretty admirable showcase for the state of electronic music at the time of its release. The band seemed to have a collection of every synth available, pushing them to work to their capacity. It winds up more than just a historical oddity though, as the songs have a beating heart that will capture the imagination of Krautrock fans and early dance music enthusiasts alike. Medical has gussied up the reissue in a nice package and pressed down to 180. Not too shabby.
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