Monotone is the second album from composer and producer Heidi Mortenson’s non-binary moniker Phtalo, pronounced ‘thalo’.
The new record is a dynamic exploration into the meeting of modern and vintage sound and music production techniques, where processed vocals are a minimalist art form, in a carefully selected machine park of synth and glitch. Phtalo distills an experimental approach of dynamic sound and versatile composition into stunning works suspended between detailed sonic tapestries and gestural electronica. Touching upon styles and genres like IDM, avantgarde and ambient, the record testifies an experienced knowledge of a wide spanned electronic music history, wired into a new and contemporary sound.
Just like Phtalo’s gender-nonconforming identity, the tracks on Monotone are quick to take new shapes while keeping the core intact. The record was made in Phtalo’s studio, where they live in a wooden cabin, at the coastal shores of Denmark. Surrounded by music and nature, Phtalo has found a way to balance their creative life on the spectrum. So far, autism has been a living condition that Phtalo has been fairly quiet about, but like first movers such as Hannah Gadsby, Phtalo is now ready to talk and help share the awareness that obviously and painstakingly lacks in society in general.
“I know that at least three of my music making friends are on the spectrum. One of them is diagnosed, like me. One is interested in knowing more. The last one, does not yet feel the need to explore further into my observation, but is entertained by the idea.”
Just like Phtalo is absorbed by details in music production, which the seven album tracks undoubtedly show us, they are also inviting us on a trip that doesn’t necessarily follow conventional arrangements, but lets you board their spaceship and meet the unexpected. Welcome to Monotone.