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CD Feature/ Maninkari: "Psychoide / Participation Mystic"

img  Tobias

In a previous incarnation, Olivier and Frederic Charlot scored the soundtracks to the movies of respected French directors. Hailing under the name of Bathyscaphe, the press was quick to file them under the postrock tab and draw parallels to the work of “Godspeed You Black Emperor!” and “Tortoise” – comparisons which might neither have been disrespectful nor entirely out of place, but stood in the way of a band searching for unique modes of expression. Maninkari has to be seen as the physical representation of this search, as the music-made determination to lift things to a higher plain. One thing’s for sure: Referencing this to any other project out there will be hard.

With Bathyscaphe, the sheer multitude of ideas and metaphors offered links, associations and personal projection screens on every corner. Tracks could incorporate dark, jazzy rhythms or take a full-on orchestral approach, float gently or attack the listener like a wild beast. This flow between intense, brooding moments and casual, atmospheric passages has survived into Maninkari, but it is now part of drastically reduced and directly recognisable arrangements. The characteristic instrumentation of the French duo’s compositions consists of nervous violin vibratos, the deep bass thumps of the cymbalom and the santoor (two eastern dulcimer variations), tribal percussion grooves, swelling low-register synthesizer pads and a quiet armada of insectoid effects. An edgey and antsy sound sound has resulted from this act of concentration, a tight, compact and yet incredibly spaceous audio-plasma streaming thickly from the mounds of an apocalyptic volcano. Again, their music borders other genres, but this time, the proximity is of a more general nature: When plucking the strings in hypnotic, slightly irregular sequences, the Charlot-brothers are close to the aesthetics and methods of the minimalists, when allowing the drones and drums to take over, the experimental rock aspect comes to the fore and all the same, these different perspectives melt into a singular sensation and up to 16-minute long, epic trains of thought. It is a style, which draws the listener in completely, yet always leaves him with enough freedom to approach things in his own way – there is plenty of breathing space in the pieces, which always sound as though they were created live and without the addition of too many inorganic overdubs.

Two remixes show the creative potential set free by these two long shamanic rituals. Scanner’s Robin Rimbaud emphasises the classical aspect, digitally piling track upon track to form a virtual string section which goes from very quiet to an earshattering harmonic thunder, while Justin Broadrick of Jesu keeps the openness of the music intact, merely adding a looped bassline and sparse electronic drums to the threatening tonal clusters. With the broad scope of this EP and thanks to the debut full-length being announced as a double CD, it is anyone’s guess as to where this will go. All we know it hat Olivivier and Frederic Charlot no longer need any movie director to come up with impressive cinematics.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Maninkari at MySpace
Homepage: Conspiracy Records

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