Manual And Syntaks
Over the course of his past couple releases, Manual has been exploring very different arenas of music than he made his name with on his first two albums with Morr Music. In teaming up with Icebreaker International on the Into Forever release, he dove off into a more ambient realm. That less-frenetic pace continued with the release of two later EPs (Isares and The North Shore with Jess Kahr), and while the trio of those releases explored some interesting territory, they didn't quite feel like the next logical step from the young artist.
Now, with the help of his friend Syntaks (aka Jakob Skott), Jonas Munk (aka Manual) has gone off on yet another slight tangent, and it sounds like he's having a lot of fun with it. Running a healthy sixty-five minutes, Golden Sun is an instrumental electronic album that draws on hip-hop more than melodic IDM, but still has much of the trademark melodic elements that Munk has made a name for himself with over the course of his short but prolific career.
"Eudaimonia" opens the album with a found-sound sample of kids talking about skateboards, and it feels a bit out-of-place. Soon enough, though, the album is rumbling along with a chunky beat and multiple layers of guitar washes that seem to sort of smooth the edges and take the release into slightly different territory. Despite the duos use of familiar (and somewhat overused) hip hop soundbites (you'll know them when you hear them), they do manage to wring some great work out of a genre that seems to have flooded in only a short time. "Sal Paradise" is both dense and light at the same time, layering tons of high melodies over a thumping beat for something that would make most Boards Of Canada fans weep with glee while "Inez" adds vocals by Maja Maria for a shoegazery treat.
In places, the album takes off in even different directions, leaving the beats behind for some of the more interesting moments on the release. "Burning Skies" again features vocals by Maria, and the three minute track swells and pushes forth like a nebulous update of My Bloody Valentine while "Trees Of Evening" is a two minute slice of shimmering ambience that works quite well to break up the album a bit. As a whole, the disc runs a bit on the long side with a somewhat similar beat-structure anchoring many of the tracks. By far the most upbeat work that Munk has had a hand in, it seems he has no plans for simply settling on one idea.