The most pleasant surprise at Sweatstock this year (maybe outside of Jesse Jackson finally releasing an album) came from a shaggy unknown DJ named ARK IX, aka Michael Montuori, whose energetically lush set inside of Churchill’s dank walls transformed a rainy mid-afternoon ennui into a sensual, intimate listening session with unlikely pairings of colorful slow-rolling synths, up-tempo techno beats, and soulful rhythms.
A producer at Honor Roll Music (a studio in Little Haiti that is home to ANR and PLAINS), Montuori just released the five-track EP Urraca, which features sophisticated, boundary-defiant electronic pieces reminiscent of Four Tet (stream in full below). Despite the wide-range of influences — Radiohead, Ratatat, Mars Volta, Final Fantasy, and Talvin Singh’s 1998 album OK — Montuori manages to keep the multi-layered parts well-organized and, more importantly, interesting.
“I get pretty conceptual with my projects, mainly because I can’t make sense of it otherwise and have to imagine some sort of plot to go with it,” Montuori says. “My first EP was a Final Fantasy tribute, about UFOs actually being spiritual beings, called Xeno-Arkaeology.”
About the new EP’s title, Montuori explains: “Urraca was a real nuclear weapon, and the most dangerous in a series of reckless tests the U.S. government did in 1962. Luckily, the project was shut down just before this weapon was set to fire. So the EP is about a reality where we fire it and destroy the world.”
Montuori, who got his foot in the door at Honor Roll by delivering pizzas to the studio, says he has four album’s worth of music in the works and will also be contributing to Get Low’s anniversary compilation, which is due out next month. For now, here’s Urraca.