In 1966, five American ex-GI bar band vets, re-christened the Monks, presented Germany with Black Monk Time.
“Uberbeat,” they dubbed it: drums directing bass volts, organ jolts, guitar feedback, electric banjo as percussion, echoing harmonies, and pre–Slim Shady chatter, jumping in and out of the mix, right on cue. “It’s Monk Time, it’s Hop Time,” they called, before and after ragging on “Mad Vietcong,” James Bond, and “What army? Any army.”
Silver Monk Time compiles 29 covers and homages as follow-up to the 2006 documentary Monks—The Transatlantic Feedback. The Fall expertly probe the ripples of “Higgle-dy Piggle-dy,” Jason Forrest folds Monks demo tapes into the birthday-suit salute of “Monk Hop,” and the Raincoats simultaneously croon and hammer “Monk Chant” ’round the mountain. All this while the 126.96.36.199.’s “Cuckoo” spins right off its peak, brushed by the smoke-ring feathers of Nista Nije Nista’s “Kuchhuche.”
Doc Schoko’s doom-swallowing “Sei Still” smirks at its English-speaking doppelg
änger, “Shut Up,” as rolled by the stoic-to-furious International Noise Conspiracy and tapped out by the tremulously tight toot-toot-tootsies of Floating Di Morel. Eventually, the Monks’ own frontman, Gary Burger, appears in the belligerent belly of Faust’s “Beware….” “The war is never done,” he reports, and also, “The war has not begun.” If anybody can jump past such looming contradictions (two sides of a meta-War on Terror?), it’s a Monk. And Silver Monk Time buys us all some more hop time, finally!