In an age of vibrant maximalism and oversaturation, there is a brave beauty in an artist’s intentional understatement. Monochrome Midnight Traveller (MMT) challenges the norm with “Reality Spaces,” a two-track EP that merges Shanghai’s ambient nightscape with a minimalist, bass-heavy audial journey. Hailing from Shanghai—a city that brims with neon lights and a cacophony of sounds—the duo plucks inspiration from its nocturnal aura, translating it into a unique blend of breakbeat, hip-hop, downtempo, and ambient genres.
The EP serves not just as a musical experience but as a carefully curated audiovisual presentation. Music and visuals—two distinct art forms—are entwined so intricately in this project that they almost cease to exist without the other. For MMT, the process is visual-first: the emotion derived from black-and-white imagery guiding the sonic production.
“MMT – Spaces,” the opening track, sets the tone with its spacious, breakbeat ambiance. As its name suggests, the song is ethereal and vast, evoking feelings of wanderlust. Its bass is resonant yet understated, a constant throbbing presence beneath airy synth progressions. There’s an allure in its steadiness—a grounding force amid the whimsy. Paired with its accompanying video, listeners are transported to city streets, the quiet moments just before dawn, as they move between gazing at worn-out shoes and the distant stars.
The subsequent track, “MMT – Reality,” is a sonic dichotomy. Embodying themes of both reality and illusion, the track blends trip-hop’s rhythmic nuances with dubstep’s wobbly bass lines, all while maintaining a mainstream downtempo appeal. The result is a song ripe with contrasts. Ethereal vocals float over heavy, somber bass, and simple monophonic synth riffs bring a sense of nostalgia. The accompanying video—an exploration of a trippy night jungle—complements the song’s mood perfectly, further solidifying MMT’s knack for creating harmonious audiovisual experiences.
While “Reality Spaces” consists of only two tracks, totaling just nine minutes, it feels anything but brief. Time seems to blur as listeners are drawn into MMT’s world—a world where music and visuals are not just complementary but symbiotic.
An aspect of MMT’s artistry that’s impossible to ignore is their focus on the beauty of simplicity. From the monochromatic aesthetic to the stripped-back, bass-heavy beats, there’s an emphasis on less being more. This is particularly evident in their utilization of heavy, distorted bass and kick, elements often used to amplify a track’s intensity. Yet, in the hands of MMT, these components are reimagined, repurposed for a more laid-back, after-hours sound. It’s electronica, but not as we traditionally know it.
In conclusion, “Reality Spaces” is more than just an EP—it’s a statement of artistic intent. It’s a call to listeners to experience music in a more holistic manner, where visuals serve not as mere accessories but as essential elements of the narrative. For those yearning for a retreat into the ethereal, into the quiet contemplation of city nights, MMT’s “Reality Spaces” offers a portal. Through it, one might just find that space where reality blends seamlessly with dreams.