Manaboo, Unhuh

[Steadfast Records]


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It’s getting to be full-time work keeping tabs on Brendon Moeller these days. Spread over his assorted monikers, he issued at least eight records of new material in 2009. Cohort Shigeru Tanabu has conducted himself a bit more discretely, though he did notch a soaring, string-laden peak time record with Wave Music early last year, and followed it with the loose “Jazzin'” for Apt. International. Originally a guitarist, he’s also made numerous contributions to Moeller’s Beat Pharmacy records, but Manaboo presumably brings the duo’s collaboration to full interactive fruition, the label press release emphasizing an engagement of their shared enthusiasm for jazz. Don’t let track titles like “Blutrane” mislead you, though; techno and house are the crucial touchstones here.

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The mid-tempo title track’s balmy pads, dipping bass lines, and shuffling disco guitar dip into the deep house well, but its sleek sheen is more make-out than melancholy. “Utopia” and “Blutrane” mine the overlapping territory of house’s sensuality and dub techno’s tactile atmospherics. “Utopia” seeks sonic depths with what sound like sonar blips, and unsurprisingly find metallic chords and numbing sub-bass at the bottom. “Blutrane” buries a muddled John Coltrane interview beneath a “Quadrant Dub” recipe of submerged reverb and filtered percussion. There’s little question that Moeller and Tanabu know their way around this sort of sound design but, much like the barely discernible recording of Coltrane’s voice, the music’s vague gray-scale seems to resist close listening, settling quickly into the background. From where I stand, the duo better distinguish themselves with “Morpheen,” a slow builder that balances moody jazz samples and future dub textures to haunting and elegant effect. Like “Unhuh,” it’s a minor pleasure, but a comfortable one, with an easy mood and slinky allure that may find more takers in the cocktail lounge than on the floor.

Blaktony  on February 23, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Trippy & jazzy; a nice piece to the collection.

Limbic  on March 4, 2010 at 3:21 AM

veeery nice,very deep, just like this tune,wow Manaboo!!

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