Monk was formed in 1996 when guitarist Ric Hordinski left the Cincinnati based rock group Over The Rhine. Owing as much to the ambient soundscapes of artists like Brian Eno as to "pop"influences, Monk's music is built on the sound of the heavily- processed guitar. Monk's concept is built on the introspection of and interaction amongst the musicians and ultimately their audience.
Hordinski has taken a look at the path of the guitar god and has forsaken it, preferring his own vision. In the three recorded works by Monk, he subtlety trumps soloing, by valuing reflection more than riffage. Though he has the power to demand attention, Hordinski prefers to tickle the ears while stirring the souls of his listeners.
Freedom is really at the core of Monk, and Hordinski explores that freedom; turning Monk live performances into memorable, unique events.
Monk's music ranges from atmospheric and ambient to high- energy rock and roll. The group creates sounds which have evolved from varied musical influences spanning Europe, the Americas and the East. Hordinski's virtuosity as a guitar player is rooted in a strong technical and theoretical foundation.
To date Monk has released three critically acclaimed CDs: the rock inspired Quiver (1997), the all insrumental Hush (1998) and most recently Blink (1999) an album of live tracks. Monk's music has been heard on ECHOES and STAR'S END as well as on more commercial radio outlets.
|Monk, along with Coyote Oldman, performed at the 23 October 1999 Gathering in Philadelphia and had the rare opportunity to present music drawn from their Ambient influences allowed by serene environment of St. Mary's church sanctuary. To view photos of this event, please access the Gatherings website at: http://www.thegatherings.org.|
"Haunted, Ambient, Atmospheric. All good words to describe the recordings of local [Cincinnati] guitarist Ric Hordinski and his band, Monk. Quiver, the almost unnervingly precise and fluid debut, and the instrumental collection Hush, found the former Over The Rhine guitarist and increasingly prolific producer (he runs Mersey Beat Studio here in [Cincinnati] and has produced acts from David Wilcox to Plow on Boy) essentially using the studio as an instrument, getting a hallowed- ground sound and creating a hypnotic, cascading waterfall of music.
Lest you think Hordinski is solely a studio rat, check out his latest disc, Blink (Ether/Flat Earth), a collection of live cuts culled from radio shows and performances over the last few years. Hordinski and his band retain the textural integrity of the recordings, but the live setting also allows for some stretching, of which they take full advantage. Monk somehow accomplishes the tricky feat of sounding loose, but actually being, performance- wise, as tight as a double knot.
The narcotic lull created by the circular, trance- inducing guitar lines on cuts like 'Tattoo' and the aptly titled 'Improvisation,' is mesmerizing, and even the more structured Pop songs are laced with a liquid, celestial flow that as crafty enough to keep the listener on their toes. Blink is a solid artistic achievement that will leave you anticipating Monk's next all- new release.
Some other Blink- related notes: The album contains a CD-ROM portion that offers a tour of Hordinski's studio and a run down of the equipment used to record the album. Also, the packaging (including informative liner notes from Hordinski) was done by Kerosene Halo, which won a Grammy this year for its work on Madonna's latest album.
Blink gets the release party treatment this Saturday at York Street Cafe with guest Seth Alder."
--Mike Breen, CINCINNATI CITYBEAT   29 July 1999
"Still best known for his time with Over the Rhine, guitarist, producer and songwriter Ric Hordinski continues making a strong case to be recognized as a major talent in his own right with this, his second full length release as Monk within six months.
Hush is a gorgeous instrumental album filled with stacks of lushy layered and textured guitar tones. The obvious comparison is to the instrumental work of uber- producer Daniel Lanois as the two share a fondness for airy effects and omnichords, but this has more intimacy and warmth than anything Lanois has played since his Acadie album. Each cut has a tone and personality entirely its own from the warm ambiance of 'Cascades' and 'Bitte', to the quietly pastoral 'Ring Out (Ye Crystal Spheres)', to the almost ominous 'Tattoo' and 'Coal Train', to the quiet groove and eastern violin of 'Shiva'. Many instrumental projects have a tendency to get a bit boring by the end, this isn't a worry here. Hordinski is simply too good a player, producer and arranger for that to happen. Another excellent project from Hordinski."
--Todd Brown, TRUE TUNES