If Luther Monroe wasn’t already among the top order of underground electronic artists upon the release of “Be Careful What You Wish For”, the response and subsequent journey of that EP means that now – returning with the “State Of The Art” album, he most certainly is. It is a triumphant showcasing of his talents hosting a collection of Chill Trap, UK Garage, Instrumental Hip-Hop, Big Beat, Electro Rock, Atmospheric Drum & Bass, Ambient, Soft Metal, Fantasy Downtempo, Progressive Rock, Afrobeat, and Psychedelic Dub. It will capture the imagination of fans from across a broad musical spectrum, bringing to life Luther Monroe’s compositions in a way that’s immersive, elegant and technically proficient.
When Luther Monroe gets things right – which is almost every time – his recorded work produces a sense of sonic magic, and there are plenty of moments on this album that do just that. The opening track, “Cupid Trap” is an immediate standout – a beautifully textured insight on the album’s themes, its lush piano notes hanging on to the moving the moving rhythm while adapting to the ever-shifting sonic environments that surround it. It’s purposeful, ambitious, and ties together a heap of ideas in a coherent gesture that will continue to gratify, even after heaps of listens.
“Resolve” blends the melodic piano motifs with growling synths and dynamic percussion, before shifting onto the cinematic expanse of “Betrayal” and then the incandescent and banging, abrasive grit of “Swagger”. Its snaking progressions creating one of the record’s most intense atmospheres. Basslines play an important part of Luther Monroe’s compositions, and never do anything banal. Their appearances are never limited to keeping a rhythm, but are also meant to add subtle harmonic flourishes as can be heard on “Night Flight”.
“We All Make Mistakes” is beautifully enhanced by the ambient guitars, which expand the harmonic spectrum offered by the keyboards. This leads us to the skittering hi-hats, thumping drums and rapped verses of “Dios Me Salve” ft. Roy RG.
Things take an epic and mysterious turn on “Stone Circle” with it’s echoing guitars, sweeping pads and throbbing percussion. The vocal interludes succeed in adding an eerie aura to the proceedings. The guitars and basslines are again the shining stars on “We’ll Meet Again”, which rides on a momentum-pushing groove.
“The Princess and the Frog” rides on skittering percussion and twisting synths that fill the sound canvas with vibrant flourishes. Its back to the beautiful jangle of the guitars, the afro rhythms of the bass and percussion, and the poignancy of the ethnic-flavored vocals on “Moonlight” ft. BwuoyMace. This is followed by the reggae-influenced rhythm of “hashtag jusllowitfam”, before the album closes with the sweeping atmosphere of “Through The Looking Glass”.
Much more than just a beat-maker or an electronic producer, Luther Monroe is a master of soundscape storytelling. He creates sonic atmospheres that engulf the listener. Those atmospheres are then set into motion by varied rhythms, and then colored by exquisite melodies.
All of which allows the mind to float in its various intricacies, moods, and states. With “State Of The Art”, Luther Monroe has achieved his most complete record yet. Classically trained with piano and violin from an early age, the London-based producer and musician, Luther Monroe, has progressively developed and evolved his craft to the pinnacle of sophisticated excellence. With a blend of electronic and organic sounds, “State Of The Art” is the benchmark for instrumental music in 2022, and sets a standard that will be undeniably difficult to match, let alone beat.