After the 2019 launch of The Gardens of Babylon’s record label we find ourselves in a very different world. Last year’s compilation was a musical snapshot of a physical festival experience with contributions coming from those who were there. This year, the compilation assumes a different role – a sonic journey through the times, memories, and loved ones we miss, as well as a sense of comfort as we look to reunite on a dancefloor somewhere around the world.
‘The Monastery’ 2020 draws contributions from friends and family, developing its narrative from the opening percussion of Menachem 26’s ‘Kumpaki Blues’ through the closing euphoria of Glauco di Mambro’s ‘Solar Safari. Along the way, each track reads as a different chapter, transporting listeners to the sea of smiles that make up The Monastery Festival Experience. These chapters break down the weekend, encapsulating the emotions of its many facets, locations, and feelings. With ‘Light on the Road,’ Ali Farahani sets palpable anticipation, leading into the jazzy breaks of Gorje Hewk & Izhevski’s ‘Der Geist Seiner Zeit’. Then, Maga’s delicately brooding ‘Musike’ (feat. Arc) makes way for the gently rising piano of Parallell’s ‘Everybody Knows’. By the time, Derun’s ‘Los Caminos de Sirkedji’ hits, things start getting twisty, day turns to night, and ‘The Monastery’ is in full swing. From here, Amine K, Niko Schwind, Noraj Cue & unders, Dauw, Madmotormiquel, and Headwaters expand consciousness through mythical, hypnotic offerings – some low slung, some deep, dark, and driving. This is where resident VANDER’s ‘We Can’t Get No Sleep’ drops and sums up the experience perfectly, interjecting fresh funk into groovy percussion, before giving way to afterhours vibes courtesy of KRAUT, Franca, and Sound Shapes.
It may be another year until the hallowed grounds of Goch’s Kloster Graefenthal turns into our musical paradise again, but with ‘The Monastery’ 2020 compilation, its starry nights and sweaty days transport through speakers and souls as we patiently wait for the world we know to return stronger, healthier, and more conscious than ever before.