Monika Roscher Bigband (MRB) is comprised of 18 musicians and exists somewhere between math-rock, prog-jazz, avant-pop and experimental electronics.
Having issued the epic and uptempo ‘8 Prinzessinnen’ (8 Princesses) VIDEO as an opening salvo from their upcoming third album at the beginning of February, they end the month with a rather more glacial follow-up.
’Starlight Nightcrash’ unfurls gradually in darkly haunting fashion and is about the beauty of the natural world as well as its frighteningly destructive power. Roscher explains that it “was written like a constant breaking of waves with an ebb and flow capable of crushing everything in the blink of an eye. Its moments of tranquility allude to the peace of mind that opens up once you face this elementary force with calm and acceptance.”
The mangled sounds of a circuit-hacked Casio keyboard flicker through the song even as her band sparkle in lush symphonic colours. “The brutal, the tender, the loving, the destructive, everything is inextricably connected. ’Starlight Nightcrash’ is like the cosmos having a dialogue with the brittleness of life,” she continues. “At its emotional core is the feeling of having escaped certain death by sheer unfathomable luck and our inability to process the fact that the natural world just moves on as before, serene and indifferent.”
One of Roscher’s band members built an LED instrument suit for her to wear and play during live performances of this song.
Formed in Munich in 2011, MRB soon made waves with thrilling live performances and the inventive ideas of Roscher, their founder, singer, guitarist and conductor. Their first two 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’, but they also caused a stir internationally, with the US magazine DownBeat naming them as ‘Rising Stars’.
Virtuosos as individuals, as MRB they are a close-knit collective who 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. A brilliant big band that constantly surprises and reinvents itself, MRB love the adventure and are driven by a hunger for musical symbiosis.
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.
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