In the English Channel off the French coast of Normandy lies a chain of islands known simply as the Channel Islands. Not officially a part of the United Kingdom, the lightly populated island chain is, instead, a Norman remnant and British dependency. One of the eight inhabited islands is Jersey, home to Sasha Le Monnier, a talented dj and electronic music producer and the subject of this review.
Like many artists under the broad umbrella “electronica,” Sasha was initially drawn to the scene by the explosive Acid House movement, circa 1989-1990, which began in Chicago and spread throughout the globe. And, like many successful electronica artists, Sasha honed her electronic production skills through years working as a dj, beginning in the late 1990’s. Soon, her hard work began to pay off and, by word of mouth, her impressive dj sets began landing her numerous gigs throughout the U.S and Europe. Magazine and television interviews soon followed. This reviewer had an opportunity to read a pdf version of one such review. The trouble was, the interview was in a northern European language I was unable to decipher or translate. Apologies.
2005 was a watershed year for Sasha. It was in that year that she became involved with internet radio, holding monthly residencies on stations such a Scratch-N-Spin, DI.FM, and Danceradio.gr, putting her in touch with many of the world’s top djs and further polishing her sound. That same year, she entered the production side of electronic music, joining long time friends Stevie Fitz and James Leaman to form “C.O.U. Muzik.” Though formed relatively recently, C.O.U. Muzik already has over 25 releases on various labels, including Nightshade Music, Bellarine Recordings, Pangea U.K., and Source of Gravity. Sasha is now the manager of Source Of Gravity, which has put out many impressive tracks including Jarius Miller’s “Altiplano” – an extraordinarily original and brilliant track. Recently, Sasha returned to a local Jersey club, Pure Nightclub, where she had begun back in 1997, keeping her in touch with the rhythm of the Islands and the emerging sounds throughout Europe and the U.S.
Sasha’s music is sometimes described as “Deep House,” “Tech House,” or “Progressive House,” but labels cannot justly describe her body of work. Listening to over 20 of her/C.O.U. Muzik’s tracks in two sittings, the following stream of consciousness descriptions came to mind: intelligent and hypnotic grooves with interesting, subtle shifts; minimalist, efficient and introspective rhythms that crisply build; suspenseful tracks that are relaxing yet powerful.
One trademark of Sasha’s work is the manner in which she builds tracks. Many are constructed in such a way that they build to a boil so gradually one hardly notices the temperature increasing until it is too late. ”Jacco@work – Hashcake” is a masterpiece of hypnotic build-to-a-boil danceability. C.O.U. Muzik’s “Third Watch” has incredible synchronization throughout. C.O.U. Muzik’s “Girl Cooperate” builds from a minimalist to a complex and intricately layered track. “Infrasonic Feat Hannah” has incredible grooves. “Maxi Valvona – Force Major” is hypnotic and is reminiscent of John Digweed and another Sasha – DJ Sasha aka Alexander Paul Coe, the famous Welsh DJ and record producer.