Bein-E (a.k.a. Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand – which is quite a mouthful) is one of the more unique, and intriguing music projects I’ve come across in recent years, as their sound takes a much more ambient path. Rather than focusing on the traditional format of following structures and creating a rhythm, it generates an atmosphere with the use of various soundscapes, occasionally adding in lyrics recited in the form of spoken word poetry. Having seen them live a few times, I can confirm that it is quite a gripping experience. Does the same apply for their first album, Monsters?
“MMXIX” is our starting point, as a haunting ambience echoes all around, solidifying the unsettling mood that remains present throughout the entirety of the record. It feels like being enveloped by an evil presence, as it slowly begins to take control. Samples of Donald Trump are utilised quite cleverly, and help to contextualise the song. This cumulates into the digital sounds of a 56k modem connecting, seamlessly bleeding into the second track, “Stalker”. Here the sounds start to glitch and warp in twisted ways, the accompanying static hissing enhancing the creepy aura. Bassy drones pulsate, and whilst they’re certainly not enough to be irritating, they are an attack on the senses as the soundwaves reverberate. It’s hypnotic in nature, yet there’s a hostility to the overall tone, which is aided by menacing, angry whispers. “Leviticus Complex” feels less hostile, but is no less eerie. Constant pulsing electronic sounds go off in the background, later to be shadowed by creepy breathing. This builds into retro sounding synths with a grim tone to them, as vocals are spoken with an anger that’s almost piercing. “Monsters (I)” becomes even more unnerving, as distorted ghostly vocals whisper at the listener, backed by eerie rumbling sounds. This genuinely had me looking over my shoulder at times, as the mixing makes it sound like an entity is moving around the room. There’s something strangely inviting about it, although the line of ‘We can be friends as long as you don’t breathe’ is chilling, and paints a vivid, horrific picture in the mind.
It’s as if the listener is being warped through one of the nightmarish, alien worlds within the Lovecraft mythos. – “Black Rain I”
“Black Rain I” is backed by a creepy, Gothic ambience, whilst otherworldly effects take prominence in the foreground. There is sampling here, but it feels distant and muffled, in comparison to the rest of the sonic elements. It’s as if the listener is being warped through one of the nightmarish, alien worlds within the Lovecraft mythos. As the ominous drumbeat of the previous track fades, “Black Rain II” commences. Distorted electronic wooshes have a low-fi quality to them, as if the listener has landed on a derelict beach at night, washed in by a possessed ocean. The effects are more subtle in this second chapter, but the atmosphere is naturally still disconcerting. The vocals that are introduced are much clearer here, and take quite a menacing tone. This is only further enhanced as the effects intensify throughout the track’s progression. “Icarus” takes a different approach to it’s ambient elements, where they feel more muted, but this is with purpose, as makes the vocal harmonies the focal point. The vocals are beautiful, somewhat enchanting at first, but the way in which they have been presented and twisted transforms this into something a lot more sinister. As layered vocals continue to build upon one another, it treads towards the realms of insanity. “Monsters (II)” is the closing chapter, picking up from the first part. The background effects feel as if they’ve been ramped up further, making the tone even darker than it was before. There’s also much more of a prominence to the haunting whispers, that are quite rattling.
Essentially, it’s a horror stories told in audible form, making the listener become part of this reality by dragging them into this twisted world.
Even a little while after listening to Monsters, it’s difficult to shake off the creepy mood that it achieves. Whilst most people would probably call it more akin to an art project, rather than music in the traditional sense, it still creates a rich experience. For 36 minutes, it feels as if being transported to a place of darkness. In fact, the cover art for the record – depicting a room within a derelict building, chains hanging from the rafters – couldn’t be any more apt. It’s easy to envision being trapped in this room as the album plays out, the decor a metaphor for the sinister themes that are present throughout. It’s does this in a minimalistic fashion, making it’s atmospheric depth feel all the more impressive. Essentially, it’s a horror stories told in audible form, making the listener become part of this reality by dragging them into this twisted world.
Monsters is a record that plays on the psychological. It challenges the auditory senses, to the point where it makes one question the reality of what they’re listening to. Is it really happening? Was that effect imagined? Is there something lurking just out of sight? It all manifests into a sense of unease and dread, and is a feeling that is bound to stick with listeners, even long after it’s ended.
Final Verdict: A record filled with chilling ambience and a haunting atmosphere, Monsters is quite an experience. It plays on the psychological, creating a mood that is bound to stay with listeners long after it has ended.
- Leviticus Complex
- Monsters (I)
- Black Rain I
- Black Rain II
- Monsters (II)