In physics, ‘ray tracing’ is a method for calculating the way waves or particles are bent, absorbed, refracted and reflected off surfaces. The basic principle was presented by Albrecht Dürer in 1525. Ray tracing nowadays is a rendering technique for creating 3d images and movies. The reflected light coming off a ball bouncing in the sun. The moving shade as a person flails their arms about. A ray tracing algorithm traces the path of light as pixels in an image plane and then calculates the shifting lights as objects move past each other. Ray tracing creates realistic images, and it’s the reason that movies like Finding Nemo and Moana look half-believable. It’s hella complex stuff that we often take for granted.
So it’s no surprise that Monobody would pay their respects to Albrecht Dürer by adorning their new album with the name Raytracing. Who wouldn’t, right?
Yeah, you heard right. The venerated Chicago supergroup, featuring ex-members of Loose Lips Sink Ships, Renaissance Sound, The Para-medics, are back with the long-awaited follow up to their critically lauded self-titled debut. Raytracing will once again showcase the band’s effortless wanderings across the prog-math-jazz ternary diagram, forging a sound that is complex and knotty but absolutely luscious in flavour. Seriously, you need to quit clipping your toenails and listen to what we have on offer here.
‘Former Islands’ is our first glimpse into Raytracing, and its everything you’d unexpect. The band offers the cool, zephyr-like qualities of Soft Machine and Neu!, but are executed with the full off-kilter complexity of jazz and math rock. The instrumentation is dense and multifarious, featuring analog synthesizers, effectual electronics, lap steel, vibraphone. I didn’t want this track to end. It’s like ice cream in your ears.