Sunday 11 August 2019

Manu Delago - Zeitgeber

 Manu Delago is a seasoned percussionist and composer, probably best known as the pioneering master of the hang (a tuned, hand-played percussive instrument that looks like two cymbals squashed together - if you haven’t heard the instrument, it’s quite beautiful). You may have seen him featured on Bjork and Aoushka Shankar albums. In the meantime, he has produced a steady output of work under his own name. Delago has a penchant for prominently featuring underutilized instruments, and he is not afraid to compose for non-traditional ensembles, as a glance at the ensemble for his upcoming album Circadian reveals:

Manu Delago – handpan, drums & percussion
Christoph Pepe Auer – clarinets & baritone sax
Alois Eberl – trombone & accordion
Georg Gratzer – flute
Bernie Mallinger – violin
Clemens Sainitzer – cello
Clemens Rofner – bass

In the past - particularly on Silver Kobalt and Metromonk - he has been unafraid to build warm electronic soundscapes with layered synths. Here he flips this mindset, seeking instead "to create an electronic-inspired album in an acoustic form." He explains in the press release, “I wanted to incorporate elements of the electronic music that influences me; I use clarinets and accordion-like warm analogue synthesizers and added strings and trombone to give it an orchestral but yet very intimate character."

Circadian is an ambitious concept album, structured around our sleep rhythms. Delago seeks to emulate the structure of circadian rhythms in the compositions, leading us on a journey through the night as we progress through the album. Intentionally or not, Delago follows in the footsteps of Max Richter, whose 2015 Sleep is informed by nocturnal neuroscience. Will Delago's album match Richter's masterpiece? ... idk, but look

I’m a sucker for fast clip bass-hat-snare kit drumming with asymmetric accents. I find this hard syncopation very cool – think Deantoni Parks. Throw staccato horn blasts on top, and I'm right there with you. I’m also a fan of epic, cinematic strings. Basically, this track was made for my tastes. You wouldn't be at all surprised if this turned up during the climax scene of an episode of Sherlock. And I like Sherlock.

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