RR28 Milanku - Monument Du Non-Être & Mouvement Du Non-Vivant
Formed in Quebec during the fall of 2006, Milanku is a five-piece band from Montreal that combines elements of hardcore and post-rock to create a captivating dynamic throughout their music that is extremely raw, yet oddly comfortable. The band orchestrates genuine moments of aggression and melancholy in order to question where mankind is headed and capture the true essence of human struggle in modern society.
On December 1, 2018, Milanku released their fourth full-length album Monument Du Non-Être & Mouvement Du Non-Vivant through Replenish Records. 100% of the proceeds from the digital downloads of the album will be donated to Compassion Over Killing at http://www.cok.net in order to help promote a plant-based diet and expose the routine abuses forced upon animals raised for food through undercover investigations inside factory farms and legal advocacy.
"The quintet moves away somewhat from the sludge roots it has grown with their previous release, De Fragments, and into a much more post-heavy sound. The record makes me think a lot of Dumbsaint’s magical Panorama, in Ten Pieces, but not entirely instrumental. Monument du non-être & Mouvement du non-vivant is very close from being that, though, as vocals only show up when it is absolutely necessary: sporadically throughout. The album is crafted with utmost care and attention, and it pays off." Can This Even Be Called Music
"Milanku returns to five, with five new titles, on this fifth album. Chance or not, what must be considered here is mostly the progression that the combo post-rock/metal/hardcore performs. Now armed with three guitars, Milanku - whose name refers to the writer Milan Kundera - however slightly decreases the tone, focusing more on its ethereal ambiences sinister than on the sonic charges that characterized his previous efforts. That said, the recipe is the same, just a little more nuanced; the now quintet is still launching into his furious explosions, armored with strident guitars and guttural voices, intellectualizing his approach (Le mouvement du non-vivant with his excerpts from La société du spectaclede Debord), which is not to displease. Recorded in December 2017 by Guillaume Chiasson (Ponctuation), the five more or less long pieces - in French - which compose Monument du non-être & Mouvement du non-vivant paint a sound canvas of a dark melancholy, where the apocalyptic dreaming alongside a disturbing, poetic and disturbing violence." Voir
"Milanku is a character in the novel Slowness by Milan Kundera (Milanku-Ndera), which inspired the group name the first two syllables, so sweet, did not prevent the explosion of the third. Like their music. And listening to their long and hypnotic pieces, we understand this interest in slowness. We then take all the measure of the adequacy of this name. Both cerebral and physical, their compositions place them in what Kerrang calls Blackgaze, a mix between post-rock, shoegaze, and black metal. In France, we could associate them with Alcest. It's between Mogwai and Deafheaven that we might find Quebecers in Milanku. If Milanku's music was a pictorial work, it would definitely be Jackson Pollock's painting. Something both physical, projection of an impulse on a support, improvisation and integration of elements as and by layer. Their album released this December 1st, Monument du non-être & Mouvement du non-vivant is undoubtedly the most accomplished. It is in the top pack of my 2018 albums. The questions that cross their pieces are at the heart of the transformations that our societies are undergoing. Milanku's music is deeply rooted in reality. It is of a density more than tangible: it gives flesh to the most human emotions and allows us to face the real and the daily without flinching. In this, it is indispensable." Weird Sound
"Monument du Non-être & Mouvement du Non-vivant,
the fourth LP of Montréal-based post-metal/shoegaze group Milanku, is their most
refined and definitive work yet. The band showed a distinct shift in sound
on their 2015 release, De Fragments - they moved from somewhat meandering
explorations to a pithier, hook-based structure that nevertheless relied a bit
too heavily on atmosphere and towering production choices to provide impact.
Monument du Non-être, however, represents a fine synthesis between
Milanku’s earlier and later work, bolstered by wonderfully ethereal production;
with the addition of a third guitarist, the band weave exquisite, colourful
compositions whose ebbs and flows seem to have been calculated for maximum
emotional effect. What separates Milanku from other bands in the post
umbrella is no doubt their very specific aesthetic - its delicateness and urban
themes are far-removed from tropes in metal, yet the band aren’t afraid to bring
out crushing moments that belay Bohemian evocations (e.g. in the album artwork).
Every moment of Monument du Non-être… feels close to disintegration, and
the ambient effects, including synthesizer and piano, are haunting in their
perceived distance. Songs often move at dirge-like paces, but they’re far
from overly slow; the time is used such that each note is able to linger, fade
gently. It seems paradoxical, then, that the more fragile a note is, the more
(emotional) weight it carries - it’s perhaps because we are carried closer to
loss. There’s a sense of deliberateness and precision in every action
carried out; just the right amount of restraint here, just the right amount of
forcefulness there. Despite the seemingly fragile aura present during the
build-ups and verses (used in a loose sense, as the songs do not follow tight
structures), Milanku create incredibly explosive climaxes that both come out of
nowhere and couldn’t fit better. The vocals are surprising in their
textural contrast to the instrumentals - rough-hewn, tormented growls that make
sparse appearances, all during the most cathartic moments of each song.
When the critical moments of collapse are reached, a wave of distortion fills
the soundscape, vocals entering the fray; some are followed by lengthy
denouements that re-establish a more composed, melancholic air. One might
say that Monument du Non-être… is deceptively simple: despite its three
guitars, its textures are minimalistic, airy, with carefully chosen
embellishments; its lyrics, alluding to Guy Debord’s La société du spectacle,
contain only three distinct verses, and speak plainly of the loss of reason.
The world it creates, though, is quite singular; it is elegance and pain, beauty
"Monument du non-être & Mouvement du non-vivant, situated in the centre of a Venn diagram of post- genres, draws on what would seem to be two disparate elements: firstly, Guy Debord's Marxist critique La société du spectacle, the album's explicit conceptual foundation; secondly, the Japanese notion of mono no aware, that exquisite sadness about the passing of things. (That being said, the latter is not a component of the album so much as an explanatory framework regarding its poignancy.) La société du spectacle claims that all experiences directly lived have become distanced from us, replaced instead by mere representations. The concept of the spectacle contains a social dimension: 'it is a social relation between people, mediated by images.' But the spectacle also serves to separate, to alienate through the affirmation of existing social stratifications. In its particular forms, the spectacle appears as propaganda, advertisements, even the direct consumption of entertainment; 'the more [the spectator] recognizes himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and desires.' The spectacle's pervasiveness suppresses critical thought, means that the spectator can never feel as if he is truly himself. Debord also characterizes merchandise as a form of the spectacle - merchandise acquires a false value in this inverted reality, and propagates itself through constantly creating more deprivation for it to fill. Interestingly, Monument du non-être... practically feels tailor-made to disappear and to induce longing, wistfulness. A sense of loss and deprivation abounds, even as it is initially unclear what it concerns; certainly, the album plays on a constant tension between pain and composure. One gets the sense that careful handling, from both musician and listener, was necessary: each moment seems fragile, on the brink of disintegration, and paradoxically hits harder for it. Behind the instantiation of every delicate, bittersweet melody lies an incredible amount of restraint and deliberation. Though the album is carefully calculated, its sentiments still feel genuine; it avoids the overwrought, though proudly wears its thoughtfulness on its sleeve. Now, there is a way to interpret the album through the lens of Debord's critique: the album's poignancy could be derived from realizing inauthenticity and the disconnect of the self, is in part composed of the grief erupting from the thought that one may never truly escape the spectacle. The sporadic nature of the vocals reminds one of a deeply lonely, isolated human presence. In effect, the world of loneliness painted by the album is itself isolated, even as it technically exists within this world - the unpredictable ebbs and flows don't evoke the otherworldly so much as an impressionistic account of what is actual. The lyrics describe the progressive loss of reason, but in reverse order - 'Le dogme du simulacre' begins by claiming that 'there isn't even reason anymore', before then lamenting that we are losing reason. Created is the sense that one lacks all grounding: spatial, temporal, even to the self. But I think things turn out to be simpler. What the album makes us mourn is nothing less than its own exquisite beauty. Lifted by airy, ethereal production, the three guitars of Monument du non-être... shimmer and form gauzy layers that linger, fade out gently. The sparse but critical moments of collapse draw on unexpectedly hoarse vocals and crushing feedback; some climaxes are followed by lengthy denouements that re-establish composure. Ambient effects, such as piano or synthesizer, haunt at a distance. Unlike De Fragments, the band's previous release, the songs here are far more amorphous, still drawing from simple motifs but never settling into a groove; each composition moves with purpose, towards places unseen yet felt. The album, treading cautiously, feels foreboding but not anxious; it is shrouded in mist, yet also tinted by colourful hues. I don't know if it was ever a deliberate choice, but the clash between Guillaume Chamberland's roughhewn howls and the refined, delicate instrumentals really grounds Milanku's genuineness: on one hand, the evocation of an everyman, and on the other, a sort of cultivated sophistication that might have seemed overly posh and contrived if it weren't for the band's fine balancing act. Indeed, I couldn’t help but integrate the band’s visual aesthetic into the music – the album photos and promotional material reflect a painstakingly constructed image of chic-meets-despondence, complete with muted colour palettes and fashionable cigarette-smoking. As deadly cigarettes meet exquisiteness, the notion of impermanent beauty is further invoked – such a luxury, to be able to indulge in the ephemeral, and even to speed up its demise. Perhaps Monument du non-être... is insidious, even cruel – in its world, we never manage to cup beauty in our hands, instead being forced to forever watch it perish at a distance. This could be a form of constant deprivation that merchandise (maybe even in the form of the music itself?) claims to be able to fill. But mono no aware states that loss is part of beauty, or at the very least, a way to augment one's appreciation of it; and so, perhaps Monument du non-être... is instead sublime acceptance. 4.5 / 5" Sputnik Music
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