Throw together a soup of Don Dietrich, Ben Hall, Tony Gordon, and Camille Dietrich, and the resulting fire shouldn’t come as a surprise. Language is the Skin is an absolute sonic assault, blitzing through misery fields and kaleidoscopic razor wire to blaze a bleeding path into dystopia. New Monuments always have their own shred style, but the palette shifts and expands with Tony Gordon and Camille Dietrich in the fold.
Don is unstoppable. The relentless aural stream emanating from his tenor saxophone is a veritable force. Not only is there pure power behind every run, every screeching note, but the speed with which he plays seems impossible. It’s all-out all the time. His bandmates are always up for the challenge, though, and on “Reincarnation is Hard to Do,” Gordon fights speed with more speed. Hammering his bass until it’s nothing but a vicious pulp, the intensity between him and Dietrich is white hot. Hall works in jagged rhythms that are subdued in comparison, but it opens space for Camille to interject inquisitive structures. In combination, “Reincarnation” melts into a liquid mirror reflecting the end times and subsequent rebirth.
Beyond Gordon and C. Dietrich bringing new tonal shapes and approaches to the table, Hall’s repertoire shifts. He can still play anything, but the fucked up concreté textures and MPC squelch makes Language is the Skin even heavier. Side-long closer “Blush” is quietly pummeling with low-end crunch and a phasing, metallic sheen that Dietrich slices through. Gordon’s cooking gelatinous bass slop, and C. Dietrich carves out her own hollow silhouettes. It’s some kind of amalgamation of post-apocalyptic rhythmic noise and free jazz hellfire combined in a new way.
Sharp angles are slipstreams to new transonic dimensions throughout Language is the Skin. “Ruins” turns fire and brimstone into a channel where dueling skree is a cathartic beacon. Primordial rituals emanate from the scratching growl of C. Dietrich’s cello on “Two Fingers,” pressing through a massive ash cloud that intersects with the spectral plane. Phantom melodies are obliterated in the crash, adding a new layer of truth that all this fried circuitry leads to oblivion. New Monuments know how to properly scramble a brain.