Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Album Review: MonoNeon - Basquiat & Skittles

Basquiat & Skittles
***and1/2 out of *****

The newest release from the prolific MonoNeon is titled Basquiat and Skittles, a phrase celebrity fan Eddie Murphy used to describe the charismatic artist during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. Having previously worked with Prince, MonoNeon won't be star struck by the accurate description as he makes music on his own funky terms.

The tunes are cut in the Thundercat vein, with both using bass as their primary instrument with quirky singing and fashion. Both can deliver quirky short bursts of energetic playing and freak out sound, or deeper heartfelt grooves. Opener "Life Is A Glittery Fuckery" and the closing title track both recall Thundercat's style with syrupy bass groove, light slapping drums, keyboard warbles and outlandish singing/lyrics whose absurdist texture hide pain/searching underneath the colorful external velour. 

MonoNeon drops some acid and freaks out on the directly titled "The Dog Knew, Let Me Hear Mavis (Acid Trip Story)" which features Maurice Brown on trumpet. It sounds as if he could have used Brown or any friend on that night as his dog was his only true psychedelic companion around key boards and hand claps.  

The rolling groove of "Love Me As You Need" is an album highlight with it's Wurlitzer and guest drummer retroPmaS who also pushes the straight groove of "I Got a Gold Chain with a Bad Name" as guest vocalist Steve Arrington hops on board for the funky ride. The slightly twisted gospel of "When I Am Weak, I AM Strong" becomes a bit repetitive but more complete efforts like "It Was Never a Struggle, It Was a Delicacy" outweigh any brief lapses from the quirky artist.   

Self recorded and produced Basquiat and Skittles runs the gamut of instrumentation and sounds, letting whatever jazzy, funky, tripped out thought creeping through MonoNeon's brain to enter the frame. These odd connections work extremely over the brief runtime of the album delivering a fantastic listen.  
Support the aritst, buy the album stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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