Edinburgh-based producer, Linkwood, returns with his first solo material of 2021, with the album, Mono, dropping on fellow Edinburghites’ label, Athens of the North. The album finds Linkwood opting for a more lo-fi, nostalgic sound, one of his major touchstones being 80s synth pop, replete with vintage drum machines and modular synths. This album refrains from becoming an exercise in pure revivalism, however, as Linkwood skillfully infuses these songs with electro and techno flourishes, lending the production a distinctly modern touch.
“Candy Land”, the second track off the album, sounds like it could be a long-lost Dam-Funk cut, with its West-Coast style synth squalls and glistening, sunset-evoking keys. The track starts as a kind of red herring; a heavy, fuzzy synth melody which fools the listener into believing this might be the start of a hard-hitting techno banger. However, the vibe is quickly alleviated with some jazzy, laconic house keys, modular synth washes, and elastic bass. That fuzzy opening synth squall never fully evaporates, though, as Linkwood masterfully reprises it in the second leg of the song, providing a nice structure to this otherwise low-key, funky jam-out.
Linkwood wrote this music as a kind of palate-cleanser from the more heady, complex music he had been devoting most of his time to as of late. There’s a sense of playfulness and freedom that reverberates throughout this entire project; the sound of an artist letting his instincts and love for 80’s music lead him into wondrous new terrain.