Monty Luke made me believe in the electronic music album again. I’d just about had it with the bottomless pit of submissions overflowing with dance music albums by producers of unproven talent and little renown deciding that what they really need to do is produce several 12 track masterpieces and release them all at the same time. It doesn’t work. It never does.
And then I found this one. I like Monty Luke because, in the words of Alejandro Sosa in Scarface, there is no lying in him. And he doesn’t fuck me. He doesn’t fuck any of us on the aptly titled Hard Work Not Hype, out in February from Dogmatik. These are 8 tracks and it feels like 12 and there’s not an inch of fat clinging to the side. The 1-sheet states that Monty was “purposefully steering away from writing club ready material” but he can’t help it: rather than the beatless noodling interludes and ambient tracks made by people with no history of fondness for or understanding of ambient music, “City Lights” goes right for the heart of the dancefloor, 808 beats with an elephantine stomp and a fractured vocal refrain that sounds just like a band starting out Friday night’s second set.
“Anton’s Room” is Monty Luke’s wall of sound, thick and luscious and built with fortitude for the lovers of Detroit Dance City. Electro and hip hop influence pours in like an opened grate on “Move,” which might be the best King Britt track not made by the King. And “Roja” is simply heartbreaking. Monty has figured out the magical alchemy of turning chords into emotional triggers on “Roja.” He’s figured out a few other things too.
Monty Luke: Hard Work Not Hype / Dogmatik
A1. Monty Luke: “City Lights” (feat Abi B) (6:31)
A2. Monty Luke: “Anton’s Room” (6:13)
B1. Monty Luke: “Crimewave” (3:59)
B2. Monty Luke: “Move” (3:12)
C1. Monty Luke: “Willie Maze” (6:23)
C2. Monty Luke: “Wasteland” (5:28)
D1. Monty Luke: “Roja” (6:01)
D2. Monty Luke: “Block Is Hot” (Black Hole mix) (7:38)