It was initially surprising that Monolake was billed after Shackleton, given the Robert Henke-led project’s penchant for moody ambience, but all became clear when the set began. Henke took to the stage with visual artist and collaborator Tarik Barri by his side, and it quickly became apparent his music was tailored for the dancefloor, becoming bassier, dubbier and heavier than its album counterparts. Abstract shapes filled the semi-cylindrical stage behind the duo, and it took absolutely no time at all for the crowd to get into it. What seemed like the end of the first track turned out to be a technical failure with Henke’s laptop freezing, but after a couple of minutes of delay, the show proceeded as planned. Henke dealt with the malfunction with a smile and continued with a fantastic set of surprisingly banging, powerful and glitchy tunes. The subtle use of surround sound helped augment the experience, making it all the more immersive. Towards the end, Henke played an ambient track of the kind you might expect while a minimal red line moved slowly across the black screen, and just as you thought it was over, he ramped it up again with an Amon Tobin-esque drum’n'bass number signalling the second half of his set, which showcased his more bassy tracks. Henke was grinning and dancing in time, clearly having as much fun as the crowd was.
By Vincent Pollard for Exclaim.ca