It was just a couple months ago that Mr. Jonas Munk came out with his last release, and here he is again on another short EP of tracks that seem to bridge the material he created on his Ascend release with the slightly more ambient work on his recent collaboration with Icebreaker International on Into Forever. In 4 tracks and 24 minutes, he takes you on another warm journey of gauzy synth, clever beat programming, and washes of guitar.
In addition to those elements, the short release also marks more use of vocals on a Manual release. Although the aforementioned Into Forever used filtered vocals at some points, three-quarters of the tracks on Isares EP feature them, and it's again in mainly a textural way. The opening track of "A Familiar Place" is an aptly titled one, shuffling together clicky beats and ascending layers of slightly pitch-bent synths that all sound like they were pulled from other various tracks that he's already done. It feels more like a remix than anything else, and "Stealing Through" follows it up with a stripped-down guitar ambience track that drifts things off even more.
The best track on the release is the third track of "Wake." Layering clipped and filtered vocals through chimes, guitars, and a rich low end, it peels back about halfway through and really comes back with an ethereal beauty that sounds something like the Cocteau Twins might if they were still making music today. The epic track is that of the closer "Horizon," and it swells to nearly 9 minutes of overlapping and unfolding washes. It's easily the most quiet piece I've heard yet by Manual, yet it works quite well, with very subtle vocal treatments that recall the more airy stylings of Sigur Ros. Stylistically, the short release feels something like a bit of an odds-n-ends collection, as there are tracks that touch on his older work while others that explore slightly different territory. It's not nearly the best of his releases, but as always it has a quality level that's still hard to find with most other artists. With several new projects already in the works, he's definitely not sitting still, either.