Mona Mur has made a career out of doing the unconventional. And with 40 years of experience, she should have every right to take whatever musical risks she wants to. But with her new record Snake Island, she’s returning to a more familiar space, reminiscent of the industrial sound she helped revolutionize in early 1980s Berlin.
This return to her roots is quite apparent on “SCHIELDWALL,” the first single and music video to come from the new record, ahead of its September 30th release on Give/Take Records. This is industrial at its finest and most authentic. The frantic, almost hectic pace of the music video aligns well with the song’s frenetic energy, an ominous, cataclysmic sound that recaptures that vintage industrial magic of the 1980s.
Explaining the context of the song and the video, Mur explains:
“In ‘SCHIELDWALL,’ I am channeling my weird male persona. I sing the song of the eternal mercenary. Deeply disgusted and in the same time infected and fascinated, the prey becomes the hunter. All creativity seems to result in deadly weapons. I filmed ‘SCHIELDWALL’ on location on the island of Fuerteventura and on Berlin Tempelhof Airfield. It also features outstanding video art by the late Heiko Daxl (R.I.P.).”
The idea for Snake Island came out of a story that Mur came across about a small island near Brazil where tens of thousands of snakes hibernate nine months of the year and then awaken for three months to feed off of a species of birds and assure their own survival. The concept aligns well with an industrial rock record, a sound very conducive to doom-filled, apocalyptic-sounding songs. For the most part, Mur has made a career as a collaborative artist, but Snake Island offered her a great opportunity for creative independence that she fully embraced, leading the way with this album from start to finish.
She did get a helping hand from old friend and collaborator Ralf Goldkind, who provided ideas, inspiration, and motivation. Goldkind drew up a lot of his own ideas on guitar, bass, or electronics, which he would then exchange with Mur, with her songwriting ideas coming back his way. What resulted was a heavy, dark, dystopian-sounding record that she likens to a massive painting that emphasizes themes of sadness, bitterness, and pain. With 40 years of unexpected musical departures behind her, Mur has again diverged from the beaten path, going her own way on her own terms.