n the previous two albums that he has been associated with, Jonas Munk has created soundscapes akin to the feeling of waking up on a Sunday morning after a night of revelry. Soothing mood music with an overriding positive aesthetic, both Limp’s Orion and Manual’s Until Tomorrow have featured the heavy use of electronics blended seamlessly with traditional guitars. It has been a recent mandate in IDM to employ effects-laden guitars in conjunction with the typical Pro Tools beats. Here, however, Jonas Munk takes a sharp left turn from this conventional road, eschewing interesting rhythmic variations in an effort to create an especially dreamy take on the dream pop of 4AD.
As it is a Morr Music release, the listener can begin to understand where Munk is coming from: the childlike naivete, the dreamy synths, and the pleasant feeling of any other Morr Music release are all contained here. But there is something more: these songs contain a suprising dramatic narrative quality, despite their shoegaze-esque guitar effects and lack of lyrical content.
Enclosed in the insular scene of Odense, Denmark, it seems that Munk benefits from the fact that his “music scene is really bad”, as stated in a recent interview. By only hearing the music, and not being able to see the musicians or be part of any sort of defined scene, Munk has been able to craft his own unique brand of IDM that almost transcends the genre into something else completely.
On the first song of the album, “Midnight Is Where The Day Begins”, we are confronted with the basic structure of the entire album. Munk evokes an ever building synthesis of staticy effects, a steady bass beat, and tremulous guitars. Halfway through the song the buildup ceases, leaving only a simple guitar line to carry the song. The technique is trite and overused, but when the climax of the song occurs all can be forgiven – usually. If you can’t stomach traditional dance music and shoegaze’s triumphant climaxes then this is probably not the release for you.
“As The Moon Spins Around” is the oddball of the bunch. More ambient and dream-like than any other song on the album, it contains distant, disembodied female vocals with no discerible message. The song is an excursion into a world uninhabitable, filled with guitar washes, fading arpeggiated keyboard sequences, and the sound of waves crashing on a beach. A beat floats in - but resembles a heartbeat more than anything else.
Similar templates for each song prevent this release from being a truly revolutionary or classic album. It is clear that Manual has progressed a bit from Until Tomorrow. With a similar progression to the next album, we could be regarding Manual as IDM’s Cocteau Twins and the Morr Music label as the 21st century’s 4AD. Clearly a strong release, this comes highly recommended, but falls short of essential.