The Monk By The Sea is the solo, ambient and guitar based project by a Croatian guitarist, named Ivan Ujevic. Interestingly enough, all of the music is constructed with just a guitar and signal processing, although, sometimes you will be hard pressed to hear any guitar at all – Ujevic creates a very gentle synth sound with his guitar. Recently, this chap has released his third, relatively short, EP on Bandcamp, called Leave The World Behind and it has some pleasing sounds and vibes to it – Is that enough to carry this release? Let’s find out.
What we have in this release, is a minimal, ambient or soundscape release and as such, the use of textures in the music is important. I think that Ujevic has managed to create some truly serene ambience in all of these pieces. There’s a clear distinction between all of the music on here and each tune has a unique sound and mood to that piece.
June for example, sounds like a spring morning – you know when you see those sped up camera shots of the sun-rising on a sunny day? This is the soundtrack to that. On the other hand you have the track, The Monk By The Sea, which sounds much thicker with its use of textures – The synths sound slower and lower, making for a grim mood.
This mood is similarly capture on the track, In November, however, both of these tracks manage to capture a wonderful sense of beauty in their runtime. Thankfully, none of these tunes run for too long and the EP is short, as I said, which means that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. This is also unfortunately Leave The World Behind’s biggest problem, it just doesn’t feel memorable enough – There’s very little staying power.
Yes, the songs on here sound lovely and all very pretty, but there isn’t much to make them stick out from the rest of all the ambient music out there. I honestly feel that, even though it’s all made with guitar, that Ujevic could have furthered this album in terms of its scale. Some heavily effected, but distinguishable, guitar plucking’s would not have gone awry. But hey, considering what genre this is, it wouldn’t be fair to focus on that too much.
As it stands, The Monk By The Sea and Leave The World Behind has some simple and nice sounding tunes that would suit any art-house movie’s soundtrack. You can pick it up on Bandcamp for $3 or your countries equivalent.