Monika Roscher Bigband (MRB) is comprised of 18 musicians and exists somewhere between math-rock, prog-jazz, avant-pop and experimental electronics.
Formed in Munich in 2011, they soon made waves with thrilling live performances and the inventive ideas of Roscher, their founder, singer, guitarist and conductor.
The first two MRB albums, ‘Failure in Wonderland’ (2012) and ‘Of Monsters and Birds’ (2016), were met with acclaim in Germany, where Jazz Echo proclaimed them ‘Newcomer of the Year’. They toured their home territory regularly, playing numerous prestigious festivals and concert halls, but also caused a stir abroad, with the US magazine DownBeat naming them as ‘Rising Stars’.
MRB have now been playing together for over a decade. Virtuosos as individuals, they are nevertheless close-knit as a group and feed on musical challenges set during recording sessions, while each of their rousing live shows is a celebration of the musical freedom and inspiration they offer each other.
Their upcoming third album, ‘Witchy Activities And The Maple Death’, is stunning proof of how fresh and exhilarating MRB sound today. Superbly recorded, it achieves a breathtaking balance of intimate fragility and symphonic intensity that lets the full sonic spectrum of a big band scream and shine in every colour imaginable. Roscher’s tension-filled and intricately detailed compositions evoke otherworldly landscapes that at times enchant with their elegiac beauty, but at others wreak havoc like the unleashed frenzy of a witches’ sabbath thick with haze.
An intense and epic first single from the album, the nine minute ‘8 Prinzessinnen’ (8 Princesses) is out now and acts as a perfect mission statement. It also boasts a suitably matching video. “I stumbled upon the headline ‘8 Princesses Stand Trial’ and couldn’t get it out of my head,” explains Roscher. “What could eight princesses possibly be accused of? In my imagination and for the video they are influencers who have stolen the fountain of youth, but the real life ones stand before a judge to deny any wrongdoing.” As for its insistent, driving music, she states that “I wrote it like some kind of morse code and then set it in motion, like a musical wheel that keeps stumbling but is unstoppable. Another wheel then materialises and clutches on to it, as if two bands were playing at the same time like clockwork.”
MRB love the adventure and are driven by a hunger for musical symbiosis. Simply put, they are a bloody brilliant big band that constantly surprises and reinvents itself.
WITCHY ACTIVITIES AND THE MAPLE DEATH
1 8 Prinzessinnen
3 Witches Brew: The Summoning
4 Witches Brew: Moon Is Melting
5 Witches Brew: The Brew
6 Witches Brew: The Woods
7 Witches Brew: Dance Of The Sleepy Spirits
8 Witches Brew: Return Of The Witches
9 Creatures Of Dawn
10 Queen Of Spades
11 Starlight Nightcrash
12 A Taste Of The Apocalypse
13 The Leading Expert Of Loneliness
14 Direct Connection
15 Unbewegte Sternenmeere