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THE MONROE TRANSFER

Post Rock/Math rock • United Kingdom


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The Monroe Transfer biography
The Monroe Transfer are a 7-piece group from London.They make sad, angry, melancholy, triumphant instrumental music.They hate jewel cases, and try to package our recordings in as pleasing a way as we can. They think that 'DIY' doesn't have to mean 'badly made'. They record and release much of our music ourselves, and have also released material through Organ Grinder Records.

Live, and on record, they play the following-

Rhiannon Armstrong - violin
Neil Walsh - viola, guitar
Pete Williams - guitar
Susie Gillis - double bass, violin
Nick Gill - guitar, ukulele, saw, cello, distorted recordings, production
Ed Howard - drums, glockenspiel, samples, engineering, production
Nicole Robson - cello, piano, toy organ

The Monroe Transfer official website

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THE MONROE TRANSFER discography


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THE MONROE TRANSFER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
wedontknowhowyoufindtimeforallofuslordbutweregratefulthatyoudo
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
67 moons
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
Electric Old Wire Noise
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Vox Humana
2007
3.00 | 2 ratings
Coffee Sex You (OST)
2007
4.00 | 2 ratings
Trials
2010

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THE MONROE TRANSFER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 2 ratings
Joy
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
I dreamt I was a hammer & everything was glass
2009

THE MONROE TRANSFER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Coffee Sex You (OST) by MONROE TRANSFER,THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Coffee Sex You (OST)
The Monroe Transfer Post Rock/Math rock

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is the first release by this excellent post-rock band that I've been disappointed by. After hearing "Joy," "Electric Old Wire Noise," and "I dreamt I was a hammer and everything was glass," I was convinced that The Monroe Transfer is one of the finest independent post-rock bands in the modern era. I still believe that, as a matter of fact, but you'd never know it from this release. "Coffee sex you" appears to be a film soundtrack, and The Monroe Transfer's slow-developing, exquisitely arranged music absolutely does not work with the time constraints the project must have required. The majority of the album is made up of 1-minute tracks that have no time to go anywhere, and as a result the album fails to deliver much of anything noteworthy.

"Maria's Suicide Attempt" starts off with a melancholic string part that I think I can safely say at this point is a staple of The Monroe Transfer's Sound. These strings, however, are much more disjointed than most of the group's lush, serene work, perhaps conveying the turmoil that leads to the title event. The track progresses to include some static effects which are used almost as percussion sounds, over which some typically languid, somewhat sorrowful guitar and strings play. Definitely not a bad song, and as it's parenthetically labeled as "Main Titles," I understand the sound that the group was going for, but it seems to me that compared to a lot of The Monroe Transfer's other work this piece just falls a bit flat. I don't know if it's the pacing or the arrangement or what, but where almost everything else the band has done has blown me away this one simply leaves me a bit cold.

A series of very short tracks follow, of which "Swimming pool" is the first. Really nothing more than a very simple guitar part which is minimally underlaid by some strings, the track has no time to develop into anything other than some mildly pleasant incidental music (which, to be fair, it probably is). The same is true of "The Morning After," which places strings at the forefront with a pleasant enough little repeating melody. Again, though, it's far too short to stick out as anything special. Post-rock is a genre that often succeeds through slow development and brilliant pacing, and 42 seconds is not nearly enough to do anything significant in those aspects.

"Trip To Italy" is probably the best of these three sub 1-minute little numbers, because it takes advantage something I view as one of The Monroe Transfer's greatest strengths: their ability to craft emotional music. Despite a 42 second run-time, "Trip To Italy" works as well as it possibly could by cramming in an immense amount of emotional content, something the group is very, very good at. Where the previous two tracks came off as somewhat bland or even pointless, "Trip To Italy" works because it doesn't try to do more than it's capable of.

"Rehearsals" begins with some solo cello before being joined by violin. The two play off of each other very well, but I have the same complaint as with tracks 2 and 3: it doesn't have time to go anywhere. When "Maria Meets Clarke" begins, it's almost enough to make the listener groan: not only does it have the same problem of underdevelopment, but it sounds far to similar to all of the rest of the music here. I firmly believe that the reason The Monroe Transfer's other music is so good is because of their arrangement: their pacing is brilliant, their melodies are heartbreaking and their orchestration ties it all together perfectly. Without sufficient space to develop all that, all the magic disappears and by the time the same unaccompanied, droning strings appear on "Café Conversation" as well as the previous two tracks there's really no redeeming value anymore.

"Maria's End," unfortunately, offers no redemption for the release. Using many of the same themes as "Maria's suicide attempt," including the static percussion, all the song really highlights is how many problems the album has: far too much sonic repetition, a lack of any kind of significant development, and just a general absence of anything close to the mind- blowingly beautiful music that the band is capable of.

Please, please, do not listen to this album if you haven't heard anything else by the group. It is absolutely not representative of the quality of music that The Monroe Transfer is capable of putting out, and all told it's really a pretty poor release from a band that I still think makes some of the most beautiful music around today. They just don't have the space to do it here. Go out and download any of the aforementioned albums from the group's bandcamp; I almost guarantee you'll be impressed and the group deserves all the attention it can get. With that in mind, though, there's very little reason to listen to this one.

2/5

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 Electric Old Wire Noise by MONROE TRANSFER,THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
5.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Electric Old Wire Noise
The Monroe Transfer Post Rock/Math rock

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars This band continues to impress. Staying away from the traditional "loud-soft" mode of post- rock that so many other groups in the genre tend to gravitate towards, The Monroe transfer makes emotionally dense, incredibly well composed music using a variety of instruments, including strings, horns, and of course the more traditional guitar and bass. I always feel like I end up using the word "gorgeous" too much when I review this band, but there simply are not enough synonyms for beautiful with which to describe this music. They're that good. Really.

The ironically titled "End Music" begins the album with some gorgeous and delicate guitar that lays down a simple but incredibly effective atmosphere for the track. Bass adds to this as well, and by the time percussion and strings enter at only a little more than a minute into the track this music has already created more emotion than some bands have in entire albums. Though there is nothing incredibly complex about this music, it is composed and arranged so well that it more than makes up in emotion what it lacks in technical showmanship (and to be honest, I'd much rather have the former than the latter). With about three minutes left in the track a new motif begins to develop, and "End Music" takes on a folky, almost Spanish feel. Some howling distortion takes up behind this part, but it's used to great effect to add atmosphere, not to distract from the beautiful music happening up front. The ending is a final culmination of all the emotion that has appeared in the track so far, building up to a crashing climax before fading out in a wash of distorted guitar.

"A long fall & no-one to catch you" starts off on a more electronic note, with a sound that resembles radio static beginning the track before keyboards come in, aided by a bass part that takes the simple chord progression and turns it into something transcendently moving. The lush strings that pervade The Monroe Transfer's music make another subtle appearance here, adding texture without being overbearing, and even the static noise that began the track is used throughout; another texture in the stunning web of sound that makes up the track. "A long fall?" is perhaps a bit more experimental than "End Music," but it certainly doesn't suffer for it, with the same melancholic themes of longing and loss dripping from every note. If this doesn't tug on your heartstrings then I don't know what could.

"Singcircle" is a much shorter track, and a much more experimental and ambient one as well. Electronic noise and droning sounds make up most of the sound on the track, with plenty of screeching and static to provide an interesting change of pace from the more pastoral first two tracks. Still, though, "Singcircle" is never grating, and serves a nice interlude of sorts for the album.

"That was then, this is now" begins with a minimal, monotone guitar. Another guitar soon joins, playing a little folky melody before a great crash of sound suddenly bursts forth, with screeching strings, crashing guitars and percussion. This develops into one of the heavier sections I've heard from The Monroe Transfer, and one of the more uptempo ones as well. Strings join guitar, percussion and bass to create a very interesting sonic combination, almost approaching metal. There are some interesting moments as well where all the rhythm breaks down and the instruments just go nuts. All of this together makes this probably the most intense track I've ever heard from the Monroe Transfer; it's less "delicate and beautiful" and more "insane and angry." That's not a bad thing, certainly, it's great to see that this group can vary its sound so drastically and still make fantastic music.

"Hallelujah!" closes off the album on a triumphant note, with guitar and strings laying down an uptempo, victorious theme that's aided by horns and a prominent violin part. Everything about this track just exudes hope and optimism, and that's a great emotion to end on.

I've reviewed a few other releases by this group before, namely two one-track EPs. I gave both of these 5 stars, but I can distinctly remember writing that I wasn't sure if they could put out a full album of the same quality.

Well, isn't the egg on my face. Though "Electric Old Wire Noise" comes in at under 30 minutes, it's definitely a full, varied album that shows The Monroe Transfer can pull off the full album format. From the delicate opening strains of the first track to the triumphant conclusion of the last, this album is a voyage through a variety of emotions and sounds that will make your head spin. I really believe that this group is an incredibly underappreciated treasure and fans of post-rock would do well to check them out.

5/5

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 I dreamt I was a hammer & everything was glass by MONROE TRANSFER,THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
5.00 | 1 ratings

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I dreamt I was a hammer & everything was glass
The Monroe Transfer Post Rock/Math rock

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars Like the other single-track EP from that I've heard from The Monroe Transfer (that one called "Joy"), "I dreamt I was a hammer and everything was glass" is an absolute masterpiece. Beautiful arrangements meet emotional playing and gorgeous instrumentation to create some of the finest post-rock I've ever heard.

The track begins with some very faint and almost sinister sounding string ambience. A lone violin soon takes the stage to set up some melodic strains before it is rejoined by a cello, which builds upon the violin melody in a way that is simultaneously very simple and very satisfying. What I assume is a viola comes in next to further elaborate on this simple melody before some guitar enters to create a very peaceful atmosphere. Strings enter behind this guitar atmosphere to give this section of the track an ethereal feeling. The strings crescendo behind the guitar to create a feeling of great intensity before dropping down to almost nothing as the guitar goes silent and a bassline enters. After a little while the bass and the guitar have a nice little duet backed again by the strings, which are again used to great effect to control the emotion of the track.

This part of the track continues for a bit before seamlessly transitioning into a more uptempo section with some minimalist percussion, a guitar line bordering on a riff and more of that beautiful violin. This section of the track is among the noisiest and loudest I've heard from The Monroe Transfer, but it's still amazingly arranged and despite the amalgamation of sounds it never sounds chaotic. After a bit the original violin/cello melody returns, this time backed by percussion and played with a bit more force than the first time around. This is interspersed with some dueting between distorted guitar and tremolo strings. Finally it all comes crashing down on a final chord and we're left with nothing but some lonely strains of violin backed by some minimal bass and guitar. Even though the two backing instruments are playing what sounds like loose, improvised lines, the track as a whole never loses its sense of cohesion, even as the drummer begins to go crazy on his set. Over it all the violin plays an augmented version of the first melody, which eventually spirals off to crazy heights before dropping to just guitar, which now plays a low, insistent, distorted riff. All of the other instruments join back in to reprise themes from earlier in the track, and it is on this note that the track ends, finishing abruptly but powerfully.

I mentioned this in my review of "Joy," but I really need to drive home the point that you can't multitask while listening to this music. This music demands the listener's full attention to truly reveal the incredible precision in its arrangement and the incredible pacing of its construction. If you are even remotely interested in the genre of post-rock (or just beautiful music in general) then you owe it to yourself to go listen to this right now.

5/5

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 Joy by MONROE TRANSFER,THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
5.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Joy
The Monroe Transfer Post Rock/Math rock

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Wow. Just wow. I'd put this track on a few times as background music before I sat down to review it and it never struck me as anything special. This was a mistake. When I actually dropped everything else and dedicated myself to solely listening, however, it nearly brought me to tears. A bit ironic, I suppose, given that the name of the track is Joy, but the song is arranged so perfectly that it's an emotional tour de force.

There's nothing harsh about this music; none of the distorted drones that often permeate the post-rock and metal genres. Instead, we have delicately arranged string parts and sensitive melodies, almost reminiscent at times of King Crimson's "Islands." This is beautiful, breathtaking music with nary a note out of place.

The track begins with a simple but compelling percussion beat, over which some beautiful strings and piano are layered. This first section of the track have a kind of sorrowful beauty to them, with the melody of the piano and strings consistently undercut by the constant percussion to give the music a kind of "longing" feel. The mood shifts a little at about 3 minutes in, as the main instrument drops from violin to cello and we get some pizzicato sounds as well. After a little while of this new idea the first instrumentation returns. We get another little solo break as electric guitar takes the front seat, but in the emerging pattern of this song the strings return to enhance this melody as well.

The next change is the most abrupt, as everything but the low strings and the percussion drop off to create a moment of low rumbling before the other instruments return for a new harmonic turn. This new melody is a bit darker, and here perhaps our suspicion is confirmed that the Joy for which this track was named is tinged with something else. This only lasts for a little while, though, before all of the instruments that have been introduced so far return to the sound of the original melody. The song concludes with some unaccompanied strings that do a couple of final drones before dropping off to nothing.

After listening to this track (and I mean truly listening; this music needs to be heard with no distractions) I will definitely be paying a lot more attention to The Monroe Transfer. I haven't listened to all of their material yet so I don't know if they've released a full album of this quality, but this sure as heck is a five star song.

5/5

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 Coffee Sex You (OST) by MONROE TRANSFER,THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Coffee Sex You (OST)
The Monroe Transfer Post Rock/Math rock

Review by The Truth
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars Availible free on bandcamp, this nice little post-rock album really makes for a great listen when you don't have much time on your hands. A soundtrack to an indie film of some sort (I did some research) and a truly captavating post-rock sound.

Made up of eight short little tracks that play as one piece, the album contains some downright excellent string playing which really drives the music along. It contains static noises that at first sound like noise but soon enough, they really make the piece of music what it is. What that is, I'm not entirely sure but I love it all the same. The overall feeling I get is (I use this term alot) pure emotion. Once again the strings create this effect.

The music is really good and I can't wait to delve further into this band.

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Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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