Monday, 24 July 2017

Manet "Dark Side Of The Valley" (2016)


With my late night rabbit hole browsing of the Internet Ive stumbled into another Doom Jazz artist! Perfect, I was looking for more after being introduced to the genre via Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. Manet is a one man band project from Norway, this being the fifth of sixth releases and on my initial listen I felt the same crime riddled city blues of moonlit streets, smokey alleyways and shady dealings that I have so far identified as the Doom Jazz vibe. With each passing listen the experience grew and although this record has a similar tone, aesthetic and pace, its ambience and vibe didn't journey to the same city, or any place at all for the matter. Although soft yearning pianos and a suspect VST trombone murmur in similar shadows, it doesn't feel as Jazz like as one might expect.

With a template of deathly slow pacing, quite, unmoving drums and slow, cautious instruments one would suspect there isn't a lot of depth to the genre, that's a dangerous assumption. Despite a composition and tonal similarity none of these songs spark that rich atmosphere my previous encounter had done. "No Rest For The Dead" may stir some emotions with its elevated lead piano but mostly the record just passes by, only managing to stir so mediocre atmosphere and soft ambience. The record finds a strong moment with "Movember Pain", a reference to mustache growing? The soft groaning of distant whirling synths over its backdrop strings gave me goosebumps!

I believe this records shortcomings is in what is most likely a digitally composed piece with VSTs and the like. Because everything is tentatively slow, soft and quiet, hearing the distinctions of an electronic instrument isn't so obvious. Listening back to Sunset Mission again in comparison It becomes very vivid how much life and character each musician breathes into their soft and subtle playing. Manet also misses a very expressive saxophone or trombone like instrument that can act as a voice for expression amidst the slow smokey atmospheres. Its a reasonable effort but obviously amateurish in counterpart to a professional Jazz outfit.

Favorite Tracks: Movember Pain, Obscured Visions
Rating: 5/10

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