The Infinite Monkey Theorem states that if you get enough monkeys in a room with typewriters, eventually they’ll type out the complete works of Shakespeare. Martin Gore either ran out of typewriters or lockdown patience, however, so instead he announced two things this morning: a brand new album, and a wonderful new collaboration with Pockets Warhol, the famed capuchin monkey artist. This is truly a spectacular feat for the primate world: Pockets painted a striking album cover for Gore’s upcoming EP, The Third Chimpanzee, due 29 January through Mute Records.
The album is a five-song collection of instrumental electronic music recorded by Gore at his Electric Ladyboy studio, introduced to the world with a “ferocious slice of electro” called Mandrill. Accompanied by a gorgeous, atmospheric video with primates and paintings, it’s an elegantly-rendered reminder of our not-so-distant cousins and our shared purpose on earth.
The new EP is Gore’s first release since his 2015 instrumental solo album MG, and his 2012 VCMG project with Vince Clarke.
The track is sparse, plodding, repetitive, and more cinematic than Gore’s usual propensity for emotional narrative. It sets the tone for a vocal that never comes, which is perhaps the only disappointing thing about it. Gore’s ability to punch up a song with his voice would have only humanised it, however, and perhaps this is the point. Gore had a vision for the new project:
“The first track I recorded had a sound that wasn’t human. It sounded primate-like. I decided to name it Howler, after a monkey. Then, when it came time to name the EP, I remembered reading the book The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee. It all made sense to call it that, as the EP was made by one of the third chimpanzees.”
The Third Chimpanzee EP is available to pre-order from the label on CD and limited-edition blue 12-inch vinyl.