[sic] Magazine

White Manna – ARC

An extension of the solid groundwork laid by last year’s Ape On Sunday, White Manna’s seventh LP, the introverted ARC, sees the Californian psych-rock veterans dig deeper into the sombre ripples of drums and splashing cymbals that defined that record, a meditative calm melting into ticking metronomes. More comfortable now with this new direction though, a lot of their former feedback and fuzz further disappearing in the rear-view mirror, White Manna are content to just jam it out, improvising like never before, daring to introduce both retro analogue-synth patterning and wandering sax to the mix.

The title-track sets the tone with nine minutes of kaleidoscopic slow-panning and drone oscillations, its shape-shifting motorik developing into splashy kosmische decorated with warp-drive pulses that never quite combust. A doomy moan reverberated out beyond the point of comprehensive and that lonely sax drift make for a desolate soundtrack to explore the uncharted reaches of this particular system, at the centre of which we find the experimental black hole of “Pilgrim’s Progress”, a more muscular percussive performance that draws together some howling circus, Teutonic black-jazz troupe and piston-driven orchestra before tipping them all over the event horizon. And that’s before you meet the crumpled stutter and infinite scan of some out-there interception like “Painted Cakes”, which is – remarkably – an even less likely White Manna missive.

Found strewn amidst the toing and froing of all this ear-filling hum and simmering percussion lies the ruins of civilisation however, a mangled memory of snarling garage built on a seesawing fuzz riff, propulsive waves of hard-psych noise standing tall in “Zosser” as if in defiance of the ages. White Manna used to be fairly easy to peg, but with the ever-evolving ARC they seem to be just laying down cairn stones on their way to somewhere else entirely.

Best track: “Zosser”

~ARC is released 28th August 2020 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Centripetal Force.~