[sic] Magazine

Manual – Awash

Denmark’s Jonas Munk sheds his stoner/krautrock guise and returns to the more lilting melodies of Manual . Awash is the first Manual release proper since 2010’s disappointing Drowned In Light . Since then Munk has worked in Sun River , with Ulrich Schnauss and released an album, Pan under his own name. He has also founded the El Paraiso Record label. Busy times for the likeable Munk but we aren’t here for the Danes yearbook. What about the music? What about Awash ?

Released under the Manual moniker and by the Californian divinity that is Darla records we already have our first clue. Awash will be in the vein of previous manual records, sparkly, synth heavy affairs that seem to be modern day continuations of the ethereal eighties. Cocteau Twins Robin Guthrie is a clear influence as are Slowdive and the ubiquitous MBV . As an exponent of this so-called nugaze or indietronica, Manual rank right up there with the very best. So is Awash , well, awash with all manner of fizzing, chiming pop? Well, no. In fact it’s quite chilled and as the EP/mini album (whatever) progresses, the old krautrock tendencies re-emerge. ‘Water and Light’ sounds like Eno having a hand in early Kraftwerk . ‘Saudade’ is an internal odyssey of the mind and a summation of the record as a whole. Awash is a meditative collection. Not Munks most life-changing work. But at least he’s trying things, taking risks, progressing. Closest peer (and collaborator) Ulrich Schnauss always seems to play it safe, serving up release after release of similar, innocuous aural fluff. It can be very pretty but beauty is something altogether different. That said I like Manual best when he’s pop. At these times his work, like Air and Kevin Shields , could fit easily into a film by Sofia Coppola. In this respect ‘Glide’ is probably this EP’s standout track as it flickers into almost M83 territories. For the most part, proceedings are distinctly laid back.

Stoner chill-out because stoners need it most.

Manual at Darla

Drowned In Light