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ManMadeMan - Children of the Light


Lemmiwinks
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1 - Different Form

2 - Tribal Mentality

3 - Stillness Within

4 - Conscious Creators

5 - Procession

6 - Light Craft

7 - Flower Of Light

 

ManMadeMan are back this time with an online-only (and free) album. To tell you the truth, I've stopped being an MMM fan since their Drama EP way back in 1997 but still, I just can't help myself from listening a new offer from an old artist. In case you were wondering, no this has absolutely nothing to do with oldschool, although it does have a nice distinct vibe, some sort of crossblend between downtempo and progressive, and it also picks up with some full-on elements near the end. I'd like to start out with a praise to the production, I know that all modern productions have that crispy sound but this one has some extra-crispiness in it which is a real ear-pleaser on the first few listens (then you get used to it). Especially the kick has this little explosive feeling all while being contained, it's really nice.

 

The album starts off with Different Form which is an excellent album (and set) opener. It starts like some chill-out, then slowly picks up the pace, but not too much. There are some nice piano melodies which slowly turns into a very freaky pad sound around 6:30 which sends shivers down my spine. I love it!! Too bad the last 2 minutes don't really bring anything new to the track, if it was um to me I would've cut it after 10 minutes (out of a total 12:38).

 

Tribal Mentality is up next, pretty much in the same vein as the first one: start off as some beatless ambient with some nice violin leads, then the beat kicks in, a wee bit more agressive than the 1st track, although the overall feeling is still calm. It also lacks a bit of progression compared to the first track and when something is called tribal, I'd expect it to have more tribal elements in there (there are some, but not many). Still, this is one of the better tracks here.

 

Stillness Within is the most calm and freeform track here. It sounds like some movie-theme with a slow broken beat and some piano malodies thrown on top of some arpeggios. Nice, but nothing particularly impressive.

 

Conscious Creators is the one I like least here, it has a commercial techno feeling in it, and that stupid bassline just goes on and on during the entire track. I just choose to skip this one...

 

Procession picks up the pace even more, with an interesting manipulation of a sample from what I think is Missy Elliot's Get Your Freak On (the part that goes HOLLA). I can imagine this will bring some smiles on the dancefloor, but it's not quite my cup of tea.

 

Liftcraft is the fastest track here, and the one that sounds most like full-on. It starts like some pretty generic full-on (except it has that extra-crispy production I've been talking about). There's nothing that really stands out in the first part of the track, but if you're patient enough you'll hear some great wind pad progressions kick in around 5:35 which will make you want to jump out of your chair and dance. I really like this one :)

 

Then the album comes to a rather abrupt end with Flower Of Light, the second full chill-out track on the album. Although there are some interesting atmospheric pads in there, the overall result is pretty generic, there's nothing that really grabs my attention here.

 

THE GOOD: Production is A+ level and also, the first part of the album has a nice feeling to it, halfway between chill-out and progressive, I found it does wonders when you want to get in the mood for partying (or coming back from a party).

 

THE BAD: Parts of the album are pretty generic, you have a hard time making the difference between MMM and like a billion other artists out there.

 

CONCLUSION: Not the album of the year or anything but I found it is quite an enjoyable listen after all. On the other hand, MMM have been miles away from classic material for almost a decade now so I don't think this will come as a surprise to anyone. 3,5 /5

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A couple of points to add to Lemmi's review: the album as a whole really emphasizes trance, as in hypnosis. Just check the gradually evolving arrangement on the first track, which takes forever to unfold yet manages to sound completely organic and improvised all the way through. The album is mixed, and even though the styles on the different tracks are quite varied, there are no jarring changes, and the whole thing manages to sound coherent as it moves from classic trance to chill and then to hard futuristic tech-trance.

 

MMM's albums (cell division, creation myth) have often been a bit random and directionless, but they surprisingly manage to avoid that problem completely here, delivering an album that has a focused narrative. All the tracks are consistent as well in terms of quality, there are no fillers or failed experiments, although your mileage may vary according to whether you like the style.

 

Altogether, probably their best album yet.

 

 

 

Oh btw, if you like the vibe of the first tracks Lemmi, be sure to check the out MMM's first album Lovetechnology, which has a remarkably similar progressive/chill opening salvo (1920/1941/won't belong), even though the production is not as good.

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