Monta At Odds
Monta At Odds is a Kansas City combo led by the brothers Dedric and Delaney Moore. Dedric's pulsing, melodic bass and Delaney's artfully unhinged synthesizers frame the band's central character, which is fleshed out by a talented cast of musicians and collaborators.
On our moon, there is a mountain. Its peak is always touched by the sun and bathed in sunlight. This is the Peak of Eternal Light, the inspiration for the latest album from Monta At Odds. The Kansas City combo tumbles enthusiastically into this high-concept, delivering an album that expands the boundaries of their experimental, post-punk sonic aura.
The brothers Dedric and Delaney have led Monta At Odds for twenty years, witnessing mighty shifts in the musical landscape alongside the band's changes in membership and sound. Monta At Odds has developed into an expanded collective, tapping into the abundance of talent in Kansas City's art-rock scene for energetic live shows and psychedelic studio recordings. Peak Of Eternal Light brings this evolving unit back together, including a few new players and collaborations.
The album was recorded both before and during the pandemic 'lockdown,' adding feelings of grit, assemblage, and uncertainty to the final result. But on the sunlit peak, there is hope, and its lunar shadow transmits messages that guided Monta At Odds through its seventh long-player. From the album’s shadowy opening notes, the mission is clear. These songs are about transcending our present time in a quest for a better place.
The dreamy "Other Side of Yesterday," featuring vocals by Taryn Blake Miller (Domino Records artist Your Friend), captures this idea of letting go of nostalgia, no matter how blissful, for something new. "When The Stars Grow Old" seconds the feeling, allowing electronics and processed voices to signal a future path. These synthetic moments nearly take over on "Hands Trace the Miles," a transportive song that questions the meaning of boundaries and ownership in a new age. Further evidence: the luminous pulsations of “Grey Skies Calling,” the post-punk fireworks of “New Dimensions,” and the title track’s synth-kosmiche hyperreality.
These are only a few highlights among the ten songs found on Peak of Eternal Light. This is Monta At Odds at their most organic and exploratory, and, as long as a lunar beacon offers promise, the band will continue to climb to new heights.
On December 21, 2020, a once in a multi-generation event occurs: Jupiter and Saturn will appear to converge, forming a rare ‘double-planet’ in the sky. It’s an extraordinary event, last occurring in 1226 and not seen again for many millennia. Monta At Odds are cosmically tuned to such happenings, inspired by the mysteries of our universe. Thus the band presents A Great Conjunction, a five-song EP to commemorate the merging of planets and our earthly flights of imagination.
These tunes form a soundtrack to the planetary event, five songs linked together by the vastness of space and as a meditation on our infinitesimal place in the universe. “Embrace The Night” opens the EP with an opulent chug alongside synth ponderings and Krystof Nemeth’s homesick guitar. Teri Quinn then expressively vocalizes a paean to galactic connection, scanning for signals from the stars. Expansive space-rock follows in the form of “The Gods Are Conspiring.” Alexander Thomas’s drums rumble as the brothers Delaney and Dedric Moore layer on synths, bass, and other treatments with mind-altering results. “Elegant Approach” is a wind-up, all ‘sturm und drang’ and some heavy jazz rhythms (courtesy of drummer Matthew Heinrich) until morphing into a bass-lined melodic sound-trip. “Advent of a New Trigon” seems to coincide with the actual pairing of Saturn and Jupiter, Teri Quinn casting regenerative spells to the horizon with her voice and lyrics. And the EP closes with “Slide Away Gradually,” an instrumental callback to “Embrace The Night” which underscores the endless cycles of nature, the Great Conjunction certain to occur again and again and again.
November of 2020 leads to a new single. After the triumphant Zen Diagram, Kansas City art-rock combo Monta At Odds return to the spaceways with the single “When Stars Grow Old.” Taken from the forthcoming album Peak of Eternal Light, it’s an android of a song, combining the human and the electronic into a sizzling new sonic creation. “When Stars Grow Old” is the sound of humanity visiting new worlds across the dark spaces of time, reconstructing the beat of music through memory and instinct. An ad hoc band plays to the sparkling, unfamiliar sky of a distant world. It’s the music of the future if formed from ghostly, discarded impressions of the past. Let Monta At Odds be your guide.
In May of 2020, conceptual Kansas City art-rock combo Monta At Odds continue their experimentation in sound with an expanded line-up and a new EP, Zen Diagram. Led by Dedric Moore and fueled from 2020’s angst and uncertainty, the band adopts a darker, grittier direction that coincides with a post-punk indulgence. The result is an evocative four-song tableau, showcasing the veteran project’s drive to explore sonic territory as they lay down some mesmerizing jams.
The title track opens the EP as a voyage into soundtrack dreams and sonic imagery. It’s a fully-packed production, featuring twin vocals from Mikal Shapiro and Teri Quinn, Krystof Nemeth of Emmaline Twist on epic baritone guitar, Lucas Behrens on Moog, and Delaney Moore on slide guitar. The song builds and builds over 10 minutes, introducing a bevy of interplaying elements and melodies. There’s a complexity that grooves.
Monta At Odds embraces the grayer shades of these sessions with a faithful but otherworldly cover of “Movement of Fear,” the classic cut from Tones On Tail. Mikal leans into the vocals with gentle whispers as Lucas plucks the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Matthew Heinrich merges live drums with the programmed ones until he is one with the machines. The result is multi-textured and dubbed-out, exposing the bloodline of Monta’s aesthetic.
“Two Lanes Two Paths” is frenetically powered by the jazzy drum drive of Alexander Thomas. Dedric’s relentless bassline, Delaney’s freeform synthesizer soloing, and Krystof’s expressive guitar tones conspire to form a congealed essence. It’s a spaced-out instrumental that could be from another time, floating defiantly into the present.
Zen Diagram ends with “I Count The Steps To A New Sunrise.” The previous cut’s path takes us to a crest on a hill with a view of the damage below. The combo is locked-in, as skittering drums, cosmic synths, spacious noise guitars, and a pensive bass riff promise a way out. Dedric’s vocals are pure 2020, overcome with the zeitgeist of isolation and yearning to reach for something, anything. The diagram becomes a map, and this is how we find an escape.
released May 1, 2020
2019 found the addition of acclaimed vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Mikel Shapiro to the band’s lineup. With Mikel’s otherworldly contribution, Monta At Odds continues to push their alternate reality into streamlined consciousness. The group is presently in the studio recording the follow-up to Argentum Dreams. Expect minimal rhythms set to maximum noise, slo-mo psychedelic funk, endless dub echo, and extended-cut warped disco. Live musicians manipulating time and space via knob turning, cymbal cracking, and pedal pushing as they interlock into hypnotic moments of heavenly bliss that seem to hold forever, captivating the mind.
For Argentum Dreams released in 2018, Monta At Odds is joined by area native Taryn Blake Miller, AKA Domino Record Co. artist Your Friend, who contributed lead vocal and guitar on the majority of the album’s songs. The result is a heady sonic pool that has been inscrutably referred to as ‘Ummagumma meets Arthur Russell’s mutant disco at Vangelis’s house.’
When working on their new material, Monta at Odds found a fellow left-of-center artist in Your Friend. In-between session of writing and recording her full-length debut, Gumption, for Domino Recordings; Your Friend would stop by the HQ recording studio and work on vocals and guitar for Where the Stars are Scattered.
Using the cosmos and it’s interactions with other heavenly bodies, lyrics were adapted to represent how our human interactions replicate their cosmic counterparts.
Venturing forward from the Robots of Munich release, Monta at Odds sought to move past the broken synth psych experience that went perfectly with their fan fiction short story that functioned as a side story to Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
This next release was about how we move past the point of discovering our empathy and how we apply it to relationships with each other. Heavy stuff, right? To counterbalance this weight, it was a wonderful chance message sent to Taryn to see if she might want to drop in Monta HQ and sing on a new synth track the brothers were working on. 9 songs later and the grooves kept coming. It was the perfect alternate path for both artists and allowed Monta at Odds to focus the musical and lyrical content to fit their theme and the addition of Taryn’s voice helped bring a softness and delicate touch to the dusty electronic underbed.