REVIEWS: Erosion Of The Monolith



"Mr. Ayers seems to have engaged in some particularly fruitful collaborations of late, and here's another one. This time he's trading drones, clangs and scraping sounds with Philip B. Klingler who has been recording as PBK for over three decades and is himself renowned for works executed in collaboration with other purveyors of unsettling noise. I'm not sure what I've heard of PBK, although I know I've heard a few things here and there, and although I'm entirely familiar with the work of Nocturnal Emissions, it's difficult to guess at who did what for Erosion of the Monolith. That said, it doesn't really matter, the important thing being what comes out of the speakers. What comes out of the speakers is, in this case, fairly difficult to describe. Drones are involved, and a distant atmospheric howl invokes a near physical space suggesting environmental recordings made on a planet which probably wasn't Earth. Foreground ripples, squeaks and rumbles drift in and out of the mix without resolving into anything found in nature, or at least terrestrial nature; and the whole is emotionally powerful, despite that we're driven to depths of feeling - something almost like nostalgia, funnily enough - for a place which exists only on this record, so far as anyone can tell; and somehow it doesn't sound quite like any other album of its kind, possibly aside from distantly reminding me of the late, great Andrew Cox's Methods." (Bricklaying The Charleston)

"Back in 2004, Nigel Ayers (Nocturnal Emissions) and Phillip B. Klingler (PBK), got together to collaborate- during this session, they created two hours’ worth of material. Some of it appeared on various releases over the next few years, but a portion was left aside. Mid 2021 rolled on, and Klingler decidedly to unearth this remaining portion and thus, Erosion of The Monolith was born- which is a contemporary example of exquisitely peculiar ambience. Both artists have been on my ‘watch-list’ for quite some time, so another collaboration between them is great news. 

From the very beginning, drones of various proportions and colours are evident throughout. They create a structure for a multitude of sonic elements to float upon. The distribution of power and calmness within this closed universe is equal: in every given second there’s always a bouquet of sonic material, on display. Little tokens of beauty put there with thought, various elements that are combined together to clear atmospheres, which are margined by the orgiastic synth’s tones. As a fine touch, various chunks of sound form a sort of audio glitter, a dark dust that penetrates the ears lustfully- with circular movements, droning like a digital dervish, creating a rotating experience. Cavernous at times, uplifting at others, like a perfect architectural design. Everything exists with a purpose herein, solid, turbulent, concrete, metallic, serene, geometric and perfect!  

Besides the obvious, there’s a certain sentimental narration in Erosion of The Monolith. Unfolding patterns take shape progressively, rhythm is employed and much more, but the rhythm is a primary element, even when it’s concealed. The way the album evolves is part of that narrative: harsh, determined and elegant. Creating stories without words, but no words needed. 

This is an album based on variation, even within the “strict” extremes of the genre. Atmospheric? Yes, it is. Minimal? Quite the opposing. Textured? Yes, with a tendency for mid frequencies. Beautiful? Most certainly. Transcending? yes, and more, it is complete! After all, serious care has been put at to hand to create this fine artistic electronic music. Put simply My antennas opened gloriously with Erosion of The Monolith." (Musique Machine

"For (perhaps) the younger generation, both the names of Nigel Ayers (a.k.a. Nocturnal Emissions) and Philip B. Klingler (a.k.a. PBK) might be legendary. Still, some years apart, Nocturnal Emissions can be put in the first wave of industrial music bands, Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, MB, Ramleh and such. In contrast, PBK's first releases are from 1988, when the industrial music scene was already well established and had its subgenres as ambient industrial and power electronics. Oddly enough, PBK and Nocturnal Emissions were absent from my radar for some time; maybe the Emissions still are. I have no idea of how Ayers' music developed post-2000. In 2004 he mailed two hours of source material to PBK, and some of it found its way to releases between 2004 and 2009. In 2021 PBk returned to the sources and recorded the nine pieces that now found their way to 'Return Of The Monolith'. I am, therefore, sure that the music on this album tells me more about PBK than about the Nocturnal Emissions, but I should brush up on the latter for sure. Over the years, PBK refined his methodology, making an effective personal brand of the grey area where musique concrete and industrial music meet up. Stretching sounds apart, have these run around circles through what I assume is a laboratory of sound effects. I have no idea what the sound sources from Nigel Ayers could have been, and seeing this album comes 18 years after sending his material, and I wonder if Ayers could identify any himself. Maybe we should read something in the title of the LP; the monolith being Ayers' original sounds and the erosion the processing PBK applies to the material? That could very well be the case, so I thought, and each of the finished pieces evolves around this erosion. Maybe the sources shine in some way, but the treatments obscure that? Again, I have no idea. Each piece seems to be detailing a few sources and offering a surprising amount of variation. The monolith is indeed reshaped into something else, and somewhat less of a monolith, and yet at the same time also minimal by itself. An LP of sturdy electronic music; noisy, ambient, concrete and refined." (Vital Weekly)