An air of mystery, myth and misinformation has surrounded almost every step in the hermitic history of Wonderfulsound’s The Monks Kitchen. These past twelve months however have seen the fog partially begin to clear. First, in November 2013, The Monks broke from a self-imposed seven year hiatus to deliver their critically acclaimed 2nd album ‘Music From The Monks Kitchen’ (“Quietly lovely and richly melodic” – Time Out “Excellent astute, rapturous” – Uncut). Then followed a handful of rare gigs and radio sessions. Now, a mere seven months later, founding member Luca Nieri’s ‘Music From The Dark Branches’ has landed.
As one third of this shy and secretive collective, Luca Nieri wears many hats. He can typically be found behind the drums, or noodling on a Spanish guitar, or plucking a bass or contributing anything from eerie melodica lines to banjo, bar room piano or blues harp. He also takes on production and arranging duties on the majority of their recorded output and designs and paints their artwork. Luca is an accomplished illustrator specialising in lettering, intricate line drawings and even tattoos – of which he does his own. In addition to all of this, he is involved in producing dark uneasy hip hop beats under an alias. In short, a busy, restless and prolific soul.
So this collection of intimate, otherworldly songs and instrumentals should come as no surprise. It is essentially the product of the hours Nieri’s had to kill before, between and after the sessions which produced the recent Monks LP and in many ways should be taken as a companion piece. The record features several cover versions including songs by Davey Graham and John Frusciante which gives a steer on the influences. However, what these unassuming, ghostly tunes do best is paint a picture of an individual for whom collaboration and the creation of beautiful music, melody and art are simply part of everyday life.
Nieri also finds time to be a member of cult Welsh band Colorama, who have toured extensively throughout Britain and Europe and whose last two LPs ‘Good Music’ and ‘Temari’ were both produced by Edwyn Collins . He has also worked on live and studio sessions with Emma Tricca, Fabienne Delsol and John Stammers and with Liam Watson at the world famous Toe Rag Studios.
The album is out on Monday 6th October – pre-order it here