Once upon a time in the mid-1990s, the name Monolake referred to two people working in tandem: Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles. Behles eventually took a leave of absence when the audio software company he founded, Ableton, makers of Live, got up to speed, leaving Monolake as a useful pseudonym for Henke, who has a role in Live’s development.
For an interesting peek into Behles’s role in Monolake, give a listen to the 1996 track “Silicea,” which has been posted as a free MP3 download at monolake.de/downloads. (The site’s license requests that no one links directly to its free files, but only to the pages on which they are hosted.) While Monolake is appropriately associated with the birth of minimal techno, thanks to its work with the Chain Reaction label, “Silicea” couldn’t be less concerned with the dubby corridors and steady, monotonous beats inherent in that genre. Instead, it’s all small bursts of tinny beats that could have been built from coin drops, sighs and telephone rings. The one thing it has in common with minimal techno is its patience — at nearly eight minutes long, it takes its time.