Review: Manual – Drowned In Light

For the last 10 years, Jonas Munk has crafted albums and EPs which unite electronica and dreampop. With releases for genre specialists Morr Music and Make Mine Music now to his name, for new album ‘Drowned In Light’, the Danish producer seems to be celebrating the past.

As a whole this record is mesmerising but not always for the right reasons. Much of the album can appear insubstantial at first; with some of the music rooted in a Krautrock groove and – with little variations in melody – the effect can even be sleep inducing. Yet when the guitar adds a much-needed sense of urgency, as on ‘Afterimages’ and ‘Blood Run’ for instance, the music is lifted beyond its polite shoegaze to a towering, powerful instrumental.

Amongst the most diverting moments, the blissful ‘Biarritz’ employs vintage analog synths whilst ‘Phainomenon’, an epic space cruise, recalls Vangelis. ‘Slow’ is just gorgeous; as if the Cocteau Twins’ quieter moments are bathed in folky atmospherics.

Listening to ‘Drowned In Light’ is like a journey through time where the synth pioneers of the last thirty years all receive a nod of the head, as Munk’s music floats above them in space, in true retro-futurist style. It is well recommended for those with an interest in the history of the genre but if you’re looking for pioneering electronic music, keep searching.

Web Sites:
Manual MySpace
Make Mine Music Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
Portal, Cocteau Twins, Ulrich Schnauss

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