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Ben Mono is an artist who you’re never quite sure what to expect from. He’s produced such a vast range of material over the years, from slow tempo funky synth driven beats to experimental techno. A huge fan of the current UK music scene and artists such as Shadow Child, Huxley, Waze & Odyssey and Bicep, Mono’s latest release ‘The Feel’ EP really sits up there with work from artists like these.
We managed to get a moment to speak with Ben about his work and what his opinion on the current music scene is. When asked about his current project, Mono describes how he started off producing drum & bass in the 90’s and then broken beats in the early 2000’s. This in fact Saw a release from Ben Mono on the first Outpatients Compilation from Hospital Records around 10 years ago when he first ever played in London. 2005 Ben Mono decided that hip hop needed something more electronic to it and in 2007, this saw the release of his debut album Hit the Bit. Now, Mono is really digging the UK garage and house music scene and says that we are “lucky” to have it. Mono’s latest release ‘The Feel’ EP showcases his current love for the UK music scene and he says “I’ve found my element and I’m going to be working on this sound for the next few years”. We believe this latest release to be some of his finest work.
Being released on Plant Records as his American debut ‘The Feel’ is a six track EP featuring two originals and four remixes. Ben Mono has always had a reputation as having a talent for vocal work and the opening track to the EP is no exception. How it is instantly kicks in with a deep catchy tech riff complimented by chiming synth keys. The track is beautifully structured and by the time you are hit by thumping kicks and gorgeous cut up female vocals you find yourself in love. It sits perfectly on border between deep house and tech and really shows off his experience as a producer. The second track of the EP titled The Feel starts off with an experimental edge as cut up vocals and dampened snares are joined by crisp hats and claps. Before you know it you’re then swallowed up by a deep throbbing bass line that instantly transforms the track. After a vocal breakdown you’re treated to some lovely piano chord progressions and then the track quickly evolves into arguably one of his best productions to date. Insatiably catchy, if the EP was these first two tracks alone you wouldn’t be able to grumble about your purchase.
The rest of the EP boasts remixes from Bit Funk, Dale Howard and CSY & Stripes. Brooklyn based man Bit Funk gives The Feel a sunny make over with sweet lead bass line synths and up front vocals, while Dale Howard gives How It Is his classic dance floor house feel. The final remixes come from CSY & Stripes who strip the track down and add sparkles of keys for a much more chilled out sound, they also include their dub version.
Although ‘The Feel’ EP is truly a great release, we wanted to find out what vibe we could expect from a Ben Mono DJ set. Passionate about what he does, Mono says “I can feel the music and I really connect with the crowd” and “I take it as an opportunity to be at one with the listener in order to bring up the [crowds] energy levels”. We could tell from some of his remarks that he wants his audience to have the best experience and even showed us some of his humorous side with the statement “but seriously man, if I like have a beer or a vodka, I can actually hear the next song already”. Take a listen to one of Ben’s latest mixes for Samurai FM below.
Overall, with Ben Mono working through a number of different genres in his past, we believe that ’The Feel’ shows that if anything he is at his best right now. He will no doubt gain a lot of new fans from this release (a must have) and we hope that he will be part of a variety of UK lineups for 2013.