Rory Simmons - trumpet, keyboards, electronics & processing
Chris Montague - guitar
Jon Scott - drums
Recorded in March & December 2019
Mixed by Alex Bonney & Rory Simmons
Mastered by Red Red Paw Mastering
Produced by Rory Simmons
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Artwork by Rory Simmons
released April 17, 2020
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Bernabe Jurado is the third release from Monocled Man, the boundary-crossing project assembled by trumpeter/programmer/producer Rory Simmons to realise his idiosyncratic musical vision that marries the freedom of improvisation, steeped in the European jazz tradition, with the powerful atmospheric affordances of contemporary digital sound manipulation. Guitarist Chris Montague (Troyka, Squarepusher) and drummer Jon Scott (Kairos 4Tet, Sons Of Kemet XL) provide the perfect complement for Simmons’ matching of comprehensive musical chops and fearless imagination, and the resultant EP glues together the atmosphere of Massive Attack inspired dub and Fourtet influenced ambience with freewheeling improv amongst the trio itself.
Simmons’ wide-ranging cultural curiosity provides the inspirations behind the evocative, cinematic quality of Monocled Man’s music: Bernabe Jurado is inspired by the curious true story of William Burroughs’ murder of his wife Joan Vollmer in a drunken game of William Tell, and the subsequent defence offered by his enigmatic lawyer Bernabe Jurado: the macabre stories of Katherine Dunn and country singer Steve Earle’s Southern Gothic novel ‘I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive’ further set the tone and provide the imagery for Simmons to pin his project to.
For this latest iteration, four tracks of delay drenched trumpet, jagged guitar lines and chewed up drum patterns unfolded in the studio around melodies penned by Simmons, only to be chopped and reassembled by him into new ever-evolving forms. For ‘Bernabe Jurado’ Simmons created layers of ambient textures, influenced by contemporary producers like Brian Eno and Thom Yorke, over which his trumpet playing moves between Arve Henriksen/Nils Petter Molvaer inspired introspection, the twisting improv of Dave Douglas and the glassy rawness of Tomaz Stanko. The otherworldly ‘Sero Max For Joan Vollmer’ is based around multiple cut up rhythm parts from Scott and cumulates in a fearsome shred from Chris Montague.
‘Memory Ugly Spirit’ has a compelling, urgent groove built out of wide stereo beats wrapping around Chris Montague's strung-out trip pseudo country improv and Simmons’ declamatory trumpet melody. ‘The Raw Mineral Blue’ was named for a Burroughs prologue and inspired by Daniel Lopatin’s score for the movie Uncut Gems - “I love his use of glacial synths, noisy samples and menacing analogue drum machines.”
Bernabe Jurado’s creative process blended writing, improvisation and editing, all filtered through the unique voices of these three powerfully individual voices “Chris has this uncompromising skewed country blues thing coupled with a free improv sound: and his approach to the written material is grungey and trashy which I really like, and Jon works so well with the programming and samples and links things rhythmically and sonically.”
Impossible to categorise, equally impossible to forget, Monocled Man continues the exploration into half-glimpsed worlds at the fringes of creative imagination.
"This is a talent packed trio playing to nobody's gallery but it's own, but there's no mistaking Monocled Man's fresh and focused musicality."
"Clearly born of many influences and curiosities, the two stylistic sides of this EP give a refreshing contrast and make for an exciting listen."
"Their ongoing collective mastery of the shadowy hinterland between acoustic and electronic music bodes well for their next full length project."
The Jazz Mann
supported by 14 fans who also own “Bernabe Jurado EP”
I investigated WTB after hearing an, as yet untitled, piece on BBC3’s J to Z.
I was instantly taken with it and reminded of the music of National Health.
It’s a wonderful album. I listen through ear buds, via Bluetooth speaker and put through the AVR to fill a room. All are immersive, while different. khawaja