Published by Davide Pappalardo on May 31, 2016
The French duo Maninkari (Frédéric Charlot, Olivier Charlot) is an instrumental project dedicated to ambient, minimal, jazz, art rock and modern classical music. They show another face of their musical interests now with a new band called Sphyxion, in which they explore their love for droning, ambient and minimal coldwave. We are going to review their self-titled debut for Anywave, an album made of eleven variations of a main theme about events that may have happened in the past, but somehow didn’t.
So, we have a relaxing, enthralling musical piece made of many “musical stations”, where a common path is expanded without straying from it, accompanied by charming female voices. This is music for the soul, better listened in a solitary darkness with our eyes closed, the soundtrack for a journey of the mind.
The first movement welcomes us mixing ambient music and ethereal soundscapes, giving us a loop that never explodes, keeping its flow in a placid, calm way. The third one offers a retro sound that reminds us of Autechre and Aphex Twin‘s ambient pieces, while the fifth one plays with lo-fi, droning elements, developing a crawling, hypnotic crescendo.
Track number eight flirts with more syncopated rhythms in an IDM structure, and the following episode offers piano keys and vocal loops in an experimental suite with a drag quality. The last track is a field-recording mantra made of bells, drones and obsessive sounds, upon which filtered voices are layered.
An hypnotic work where the loop and the droning movements are the leitmotifs of a musical journey that guides us through the evocation of dystopian landscapes, without any dramatic or apocalyptic elements. The serenity of the odds of even, we could say, in an album that requires an attentive listening experience to be fully appreciated.