[TECHNO DRONE ROCK] There's a good chance that Ark of War—the debut album from local producer Paul Lynch's one-man-band, ((In Mono))—has the most convoluted mythology of any record to come out of Portland in the past decade. In a town that is home to both the Decemberists and a Klingon metal group, that's saying something.
According to Lynch, the lyrically scant drone-metal, downbeat-techno LP is intended to soundtrack a tale of doomed love that takes place on battling city-ships in a post-apocalyptic water world. The protagonist of this tale is named In Mantis (also the title of the record's opening track), and she is distinguished by her propensity to behead romantic conquests with "razor-spiked arms that form after she orgasms."
"I've always loved post-apocalyptic books and movies," Lynch says. "So I just started writing songs, not based on that, but I gave the songs names, and then under that pretense I created chapters with those names, and it all just fell into place."
Lynch is a musician with a history of indulging his diversionary tics. He began his musical career by playing guitar in the drone-metal band Carpathia (alongside Talkdemonic's Kevin O'Connor), and he has played extensively throughout Portland under his producing moniker, DJ Tan't.
Despite his new project's elaborate story, Lynch explains ((In Mono))'s genesis quite humbly: "I was like, 'Well, I play guitar, I make beats, so I might as well combine the two and try to come up with something original.'"
Composed principally of reverb-tweaked drum samples and groaning, overdriven guitar, ((In Mono))'s music sounds like the heavily medicated love child of Ratatat and Thrones. Lynch's customary stylistic mode is "stygian," and Ark of War fairly sweats post-disaster decay. "KLTV" uses moaning vocals to create an air of anesthetized unease; "Fire South" piles aggressive guitar licks on top of thundering drum samples, forming a sinister contribution to the genre of "badass slow-motion walking music."
Lynch spent four years writing and recording Ark of War. In an earlier write-up of an ((In Mono)) show, this newspaper described him as having a "give-a-fuckless" attitude toward self-promotion. Indeed, Lynch seems to dictate his own terms less from willful defiance than from simple habit. The result is a creative product that exists, in this case quite literally, in its own private universe.
SEE IT: ((In Mono)) releases Ark of War on Saturday, July 2, at the Woods, with Swim Swam Swum, Gouseion and DJ Epoch. 8 pm. $7. 21+.