Tracks 1, 3, 5 and 6 recorded at Godt Selskap Studio, 2005. Remixes by Cordell Klier and DJ Don Tomasso. Limited to 999 copies. Produced by Manes. Mixed and mastered by Emil Sporsheim. Additional mixing by Rune Hoemsnes. Released February 2006 on Code666 Records.
Manes started life as a Norwegian black metal band in the 1990s. But to be fair, as far as I can see that’s an almost obligatory starting point for any rock band in Scandinavia. They evolved into what Wikipedia describes as “a hybrid of jazz, trip hop, electronica and metal with clean sung vocals and many progressive overtones.”
The EP opens with a cover of American alternative country band 16 Horsepower’s song “cinder alley”. I haven’t heard the original but I really like this cover, which doesn’t sound at all country. It has more of an alternative rock feel to it — think somewhere in the region of Smashing Pumpkins.
“terminus rmx” is a completely stripped down and remixed version of “Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” from Volisophe (2003). Every ounce of metal has been removed by DJ Don Tomaso. It actually reminds me a lot of the Rockabye Baby remixes: laid back and gentle. I liked it, but not as much as the original, to be honest.
Next up is the first original track on the EP, “the neoflagellata revision”. It’s a bouncy electronic rock anthem. I really like how the simple keyboard melody weaves its way in and out of the guitars, drums and vocals, like a thread being sewn throughout a garment. About two minutes in the song opens out into a more dance track, that put me in mind of Killing Joke or Crowforce.
“Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” is treated to another remix by Cordell Klier in “”terminus deconstructus”. This is an even bleaker version of the song. It could be the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
Original track number two, “knife and kleenex” has quite a remixed Depeche Mode feel. It bounds along quite pleasantly, like a train carving through the countryside.
“Title” claims to be “somewhat inspired by Duran Duran”, which is exactly what I thought when I listened to it at first in my car. But like many of the other tracks, there is also a Depeche Mode feel to it — which isn’t surprising given the band’s use of guitars and keyboards. It’s a really good track.
“Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” remix number three, “terminus dei profundus” also by Cordell Klier is little more than pops and crackles and white noise. It is a profoundly deconstructed metal song, reinterpreted as electronic noise. This is real pop music. It’s not an easy listen, but if you like it do pop it on after listening to The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle (1977) and Mike Patton’s Adult Themes for Voice (1996)
This is a curious EP from Norwegian experimental band Manes. It touches a little on their past, reinterpreted by their present and offers something for the future.
If I was to listen to this EP regularly I expect that I would reorder the tracks: group the covers and new tracks and perhaps even hide the last one, which stands more as an example of art rather than listen-able music.
Review score: 85%