Manual - Lost Days, Open Skies and Streaming Tides

(DRL165: 708527016527)
Release date: 10/22/07
Genre: Electronic, Ambient

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1. The Wind-Up Bird, 2. Summer Haze, 3. A Real America, 4. Blue Shibuya Dream, 5. October Sky, 6. Into the Blue, 7. Black Eyed Dog, 8. Crossing Signals, 9. Marbella, 10. Blue Skied an Clear, 11. Crystal Pier, 12. Karola Bloch, 13. Crockett's Theme, 14. The River, 15. Open Skies, 16. Andaman, 17. April Trees Daydream, 18. Junitaki, 19. Dizzy Sun, 20. Seleva

The long awaited Manual double cd Lost Days, Open Skies and Streaming Tides – a collection of rarities, remixes, covers, unreleased pieces and brand new tracks – including a new collaboration with Cocteau Twins mainman Robin Guthrie. Spanning the period from 2002, around Ascend, up to now, this is a collection that covers the entire spectrum of Jonas Munks stylings; from the minimalist drone soundscapes, to the over-the-top 1980s influenced shoegazing electronica à la his masterpiece Azure Vista, from the sweet pop-influenced gems to abstract blissed-out timeless ambient. Munk’s trademarks are all over the 19 pieces on this double disc set: the highly adventurous sense of composition that is still so unheard of in electronic music – always taking the listener on a colourful journey instead of relying on repetitions like pretty much every other electronic artist -, the mix of well-programmed beats and electronics against surreal, shimmering, heavily treated guitars, and the sunbathed 1980s romantic melancholia that has become Jonas Munk’s signature sound. It is hard to think of a more perfect introduction to Munk’s music, and for fans of his work this is simply a must! All in all, Lost Days, Open Skies and Streaming Tides includes almost an hour worth of previously unreleased music. In Jonas’ own words: “Instead of compiling every single rarity out there or every unreleased piece in the drawer, I only wanted to include the stuff that I feel is absolutely up to standard with my best work, and I feel this collection is just as important and representative of what I want to do as my most celebrated works such as Azure Vista or Ascend”.

Disc 1 represents the grandiose, super-layered, mesmerizing sounds that is familiar to fans of Azure Vista, Isares and Ascend, where firm, occasionally complex, beats melts together with moist and dreamy guitars, heavenly female vocals and headspinning old-school synths. It includes one of Manuals most beloved pieces, “Summer Haze”, as well as “Blue Skied’ an Clear”, the title track from 2002’s Slowdive tribute on Morr Music. It also includes previously unreleased remixes of Port Royal, Antenne and Australian pop group Suvome, and a cover of one of Jan Hammer’s original Miami Vice themes. On top of that there is a piece Jonas composed as a jingle for a Danish radio show, “Into The Blue”, a brand new collaboration with Robin Guthrie and three previously unreleased gems.
Disc 2 represents the more minimal, guitar-drone side of Manual. This aspect of Jonas Munk’s work is less celebrated, but the few who appreciates it truly treasure albums like “The North Shore” and “Bajamar” as top-notch ambient works. These pieces, based on treated guitar work, blends classic ambient with minimalist classical music and processing experiments to create very unique sounds that are surreal yet warm and organic, and maintains Jonas’ insist on the compositional element. This side of his work has been compared to Manuel Göttsching, Arvo Pärt and Brian Eno, but it hardly does justice to its unique evocative qualities. “The River”, a 23 minute ultra-minimalist piece, was composed in 2003 for a Danish release but was withdrawn due to financial reasons. “Dizzy  Sun” and “Seleva” has previously been released on Darla’s compilation series and is among Munk’s finest ambient work. Besides that disc 2 includes four previously unreleased pieces.

Jonas Munk remains an extremely underrated artist, and practically unknown, but this collection is proof of his unique capabilities as a composer and producer, and brilliantly showcases his one-of-a-kind sound, that flirts with shoegazing, new romantic pop, electronica, and ambient, without belonging in either category.

 All in all two hours of music wrapped in deluxe eight panel digipack with artwork by Jakob Skøtt. The soundtrack for the summer!

Praise for Manual:

From his full-lengths, his 2001 debut, Until Tomorrow, and 2002’s Ascend; to his versions on the Morr Music tribute album to Slowdive, 2002’s Blue Skied an’ Clear; to his collaborative work with Jess Kahr and Jakob Skott (a.k.a. Syntaks), Munk is blurring lines between ambience and stadium rock. The tones Munk uses, the way he manipulates them, the construction of the songs themselves, show that he has a distinct ear. We should be thankful he is sharing his aural visions with us. They’re that special.  -Prefix Magazine

Out on its own limb, this is about as close to sublime as one can get. -Grooves Magazine

Sonically, it’s Seefeel meets Sons And Fascination era Simple Minds meets Kevin Shields meets David Sylvian; in other words it inhabits a world where boundaries blur and where sounds collide and move within and around each other to make something instantly, comfortingly recognisable yet with an abstract sense of the new.

A painstaking labour of love that principally takes Durutti Column and the Cocteau Twins as its key templates and weaves their chiming matrix into a celebratory carnival of lush colour coded ambient structures of the type so rarely heard these days….all at once sensual, invigorating, heart stopping and quite simply perfect.

Think of My Bloody Valentine, but lighter than air. Or think of what Air's soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides might have been like if they spent more time at the beach. Or think about Brian Eno, if he surfed and liked drinks with exotic names and umbrellas in them. Think about Tangerine Dream: their name even more than their sound. Think about the "shoegazers" gazing at a brillant blue ocean and jamming. Or think about that great wave of keyboards on the opening track of The Cure's Disintegration, but think of it not as an impending rainstorm but as a brilliant sun, a storm of sunbeams. Then think of all these things at once, and you've got a beautiful, awe-inducing force of nature.
-Erasing Cluds Magazine

The sonorous rebirth of electronica written on Manual's 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....

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