At first glance, the mood is overall more celebratory on his third album, The Bird and the Beat, than on Cloudbuster. First single "La Musica" revisits the same kind of early '90s house Azari & III and Tensnake have been obsessed with these past 24 months, and it does so with amused bass-ass-ness and gusto (the 12-inch remix from Azari & III is, in the regard, strictly tautological); immediately after, "No Moon (… Over Kuala Lumpur)" is light, almost trivial piano house cut that's quite charming too. The same can be said about the sassy scamp Polina Lapkovskaya (AKA Permanent Vacation regular Pollyester) embodies on the French chanson pastiche "Tipsy?" Cuts like "Mira/Excuse Me" or "Kitchen Call" also invest a tempo that is too slow to be truly dance-able, yet not slow enough to offer a nu-Balearica-tinged bliss-out exultation, but Munk is obviously skilled at being an in-betweener; "Mis Labios" occupies the same half-speed territory and even shows there is still life in the infamous cowbell (used here with care, mind you). You'll also find New Young Pony Club's Lou Hayter as a sedated Debbie Harry on "So Close," an amiable piece of New Wave-ish pop with acidic touches.
The album last third is even better as Modica showcases his flair for hooks: "Marseille Marcheta" has a resounding bassline, synthetic strings and a melody that threatens to turn into Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (but never fully does) and concludes on obscure spooky film score samples, making for a variegated and thrilling ride. Then, even if it seems weirdly out of character for Munk, "A Bored Heart" is as immediate and cheeky as Scandinavian songstress Annie, and all the better for it, truth be told (even though that poppy-ness further enhances the fact album closer "Dort" is too oblique and dissonant for its own good).
Like Swiss disco-punk don Headman, Munk has his own peripheral yet always reliable record label, a secure long player and single release schedule, and cool friends. Unlike Headman, though, Modica hasn't been restricting himself to the same nook in recent times, and The Bird and The Beat shows a reinvigorated producer with a reasserted sense of relevance.