This Week’s Essential Releases
Various Artists, Monika Werkstatt
Gudrun Gut, of the legendary post-punk outfit Malaria!, has helmed the Monika Enterprise label since the late ‘90s, providing a space not just for her work (both past and contemporary) but for other visionary, experimental women’s work. Monika Werkstatt is the next level to that project, always envisioned as a collective enterprise—the material here is pulled from a retreat in Uckermark where the collective members were given complete creative freedom to collaborate however they’d like, with the results filmed and recorded. There’s Barbara Morgenstern’s luminous art-pop (“Grow”), Lucretia Dalt’s haunted industrial music (“Blindsides”), Gut’s invocation of the natural world through synth minimalism (“Green Rain”), Sonae’s majestic, shivering drone symphonics (“Between Two Worlds”)—and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Every piece here is stunning and carefully crafted, showcasing what truly can be done when great artists are allowed freedom, space, and the chance to work together.