Manual - Isares

(DRL260: 708527026021)

Reissue of the long out of print mini LP, originally released on Static Caravan in 2003.

Isares served as a bridge between the two genre-defining albums on Morr Music in the beginning of the new millennium and what was to come in the following years. The four track mini LP points in different directions simultaneously: both towards the ambient works that would soon take up such a  prominent place in the Manual discography, as well as towards the epic, 1980s-influenced Azure Vista, released in 2005.

The warm and swirling sound of Isares betrays Jonas Munk's admiration for the sound of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The gentle repetitions of Seefeel and the dreamy, spacious sound of Pygmalion-era Slowdive are more apparent here than ever, as oceanic guitars roll over analog synthesizers and found-sound samples. The blissed-out closing track, Horizon, nods towards Brian Eno's Apollo and David Sylvian's ambient works from the 1980s. As is so characteristic for Jonas Munk's work as Manual (and so uncharacteristic for so much of the electronic music of the past two decades) these four pieces reveal not only an interest in sound, but also in structure and songwriting.

Although the works of Manual were highly regarded by critics in this period, Jonas Munk remained in obscurity. But the influence of these sounds can still be heard in following acts such as M83 or Tycho as well as in recent styles such as neo-shoegaze and chill-wave.


Munk has consistently proved himself as a unique voice who disregards current trends and formula in favor of maintaining his own personal vision. (Stylus Magazine, February 2004)

If Ascend established Manual's Jonas Munk as a producer who should be half as recognized as Four Tet or Fennesz, this four-song, half-hour release renders him deserving of equal recognition. (…) At some point -- hopefully sooner than later -- this consistent, prolific producer will be thought of in more proper terms.  (All Music Guide, September, 2003)

It's hugely inspiring when an artist appears who has no obvious debt to any specific genre, or, combines so many different styles as to overcome typecasting (…) Electronica, it turns out, was just another color, and artists have only recently begun to paint traditional canvases with it. Jonas Munk, as Manual, leads a second generation of masters. The sonorous rebirth of electronica written on Manual's first two albums is neither luck nor accident; it's artistry, creativity and poise at their apex, and we're talking about a guy barely into his twenties. His signature stereo-panned percussion, for its chiming chaos, can't distract from the spectral, oceanic guitar work central to Manual's sound: with Ascend, Jonas Munk dispatched about half the electronic music released in the last five-plus years, filling the chill-out void left in Seefeel's wake. The musings of so many of his peers feel conceptually thin and prefabricated in comparison to Manual's wandering, curious anthems. (Pitchfork, September 2003)

1. Awake, 2. Stealing Through, 3. Wake, 4. Horizon

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