Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Drowned In Light





Release Date:


Reviewed by:

Taste is a fickle thing. It fluctuates with time, ebbing and flowing in ways that don't always make sense. Take Drowned In Light, the most recent missive from Dane Jonas Munk, aka, Manual. I received this as a promo about a year ago, with plenty of time to write a review and have it posted before the record was actually released. And yet ... it just never grabbed me.

But why not? This is a very typical Manual release. It follows through on the things he has done in the past and plays to his strengths. The record has lingered on my Zune long past the time when most promos have been reviewed or removed. At times a song from this record will surface in the flow, and as soon as it starts, i will think, "Ah, Manual," since i can identify his work immediately. I listen and enjoy, but rarely play the record all the way through on its own.

I think that my problem with this record is that this is kind of a generic Manual release. Everything on this record is something that i have heard before. He doesn’t appear to be pushing himself, and instead is just doing the same kind of music that he has been doing for years. I have thought about this issue a lot since i got the latest Robin Guthrie missive. Mr. Guthrie is always doing new things, and every one of his records sounds different. Drowned In Light sounds a lot like Azure Vista or Lost Days, Open Skies and Streaming Tides. If you like those records, then this is right up your alley.

The problem is that i already own those records, and if i want to listen to them i can. This is more of the same, for the most part. However, there are a few songs that stand out to me.

On Biarritz Munk buries the guitar under a delightful layer of tremolo, creating an airy fun tune. This is typical of his work, but also one of the better examples of what Manual does.

Phainomenon and Empty Inside are the only songs that seem new-ish to me here. On both of them, Munk plays some deep, old school synthesizer riffs, effectively channeling Tangerine Dream, Arp, or Vangelis, and combines those synths with his trademark chiming shoegaze guitar. Both tunes are really interesting, but Empty Inside has a deep echo to it that reminds me of Landing. Reminding me of Landing is a good thing, and this song soars through deep space as well as that band ever could.

Of the nine other tracks on this record, one of them, title track Drowned in Light, is along the lines of the ambient work Munk explored on Confluence, but the other eight are all typical Manual tunes. They feature electronic beats, long drones, and heavily effected guitars. Of these, Issa stands out as a lovely late night tune, while Morning Glass 1982 finds Munk getting his new wave funk on as he makes a song that would not be too out of place in the Durutti Column's catalog.

But for the most part, these songs could have been from any of his records. I suppose that there is something to be said for consistency, but consistency is sometimes the same as stagnation. This record is not bad at all, it just isn't as interesting as i would have hoped, especially coming from this artist. And it has taken me a long time to put that disappointment into words.

Related Links:

Also on EvilSponge:
     Album: Confluence


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.