Manning & Novak – Pairings – CD – Dragon’s Eye 

 Dragon’s Eye is a label with ever increasing scope and ambition, and this new series of works entitled Pairings explores an established formula, by combining traditional instrumentation with laptop, and digital processing. The Seattle-based label has settled into a comfortable niche, releasing material by close friends and associates whose work shares similar spirit, if not methodology.

The hybrid Pairings that emerge from Novak’s laptop and Manning’s guitar assemblages are delicate scrolls of ambience, that effortlessly unfurl, bearing the listener on warm, soporific waves, slender tendrils of tone that shimmer and cascade. This is auditory anaesthetic, a tonal balm that cleanses the spirit, and activates the mind of a receptive listener. After the initial washes of the first two tracks, the third piece (Pairing 2 , part 1) is quietly epic, almost filmic in quality, as wave after wave of glistening guitar, crashes over a tonal backdrop, it resembles Fennesz, or Herve Boghossian with its filigree textures, and understated charm. Throughout, I am reminded of Durutti Column, circa “LC”, as the reverb-drenched guitar illicits powerful and evocative emotional sequences, gently building emotional intensity, and tension, which explodes into finely wrought glissandi, that gradually erode and fizzle into overdriven digital noughts and ones. At first impression, this is not an overtly ground-breaking collection of works, but as the album approaches its finale, the luscious ambience is subtly overwritten with more exploratory techniques, and at the “sweet spot”, the interface of chaos and equilibrium, we are treated to some very special moments, that most likely blossomed free of human intervention..once again lapsing into Fennesz – tinted territory, but all the more interesting for that. More of the same please. I look forward to the next installment. BGN


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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