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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Manikin Records Second Decade 2002-2012

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

This is a great compilation of musical pearls which perfectly depict the Manikin universe

CD 1 (69:27)

Prelude (Raughi) 2:51

Snap Shot (Fanger & Schönwälder) 8:04

Saint Paul´s Cathedral Chorus Girl (Picture Palace Music) 3:41

Sun Gate (W.A.dePHUL) 5:24

DE 7208 (Kagermann & Keller) 12:14

Schöne Landschaft (Thomas Fanger) 6:55

Improvised Music (Rainbow

Serpent) 10:08

Vienna Calling (Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder) 9:02

Guitarmoon (Cosmic Hoffmann) 5:08

Zeitmaschine (Filterkaffee) 5:57

CD 2 (73:19)

Nazareth, PA (Bas Broekhuis) 8:45

Track for Michael Hoenig (Excerpt) ['ramp] 8:58

Forgotten Places (Keller & Wienekamp) 5:25

Moab-Jam (Lutz Graf-Ulbrich) 6:15

Philadelphia (Broekhuis & Schönwälder) 13:11

Elements 18 (Rainbow Serpent, Isgaard & Kagermann) 5:08

Metropolis Part 2 (Keller & Schönwälder) 5:26

A Rainy Day (Spyra) 12:55

Winterland (Mario Schönwälder) 7:13

(2CD 142:46) (V.F.) (New Berlin School, Progressive EM)

Mario Schönwälder is an icon of contemporary EM. This supporter of long and slow minimalist movements rolled his bump for more than 25 years, bearing on his shoulders the vestiges of a Berlin School style of EM creates and abandoned by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. It's in April 92 that he launched the Manikin Records label with the release of Closed by my Distance. Without knowing it, the German musician created an institution. Beyond the quality of the label works, Mario and his music companions got constantly involved in the research and development of EM instruments, of which the famous Memotron, giving to EM new breaths and horizons that were going to enhance the mesmerizing structure of the Berlin School style. Twenty years and a hundred of albums later, Manikin celebrates the event with MANIKIN RECORDS-SECOND DECADE 2002/2012; a wonderful double album which depicts marvelously the universes without borders of the artists who contributed to the development of the German label.

Raughi Ebert sets off with Prelude, a very poetic track where an acoustic guitar rolls its melancholy with a fluid tune and with a whistling synth that pulsations/percussions harpoon with an ephemeral embrace. Snap Shot plunges us into the disturbing universe of Fanger & Schönwälder with a slightly technoïd rhythm. A minimalist and hypnotic rhythm enveloped in a fascinating electronic aura where mysterious voices, ochered breezes and ethereal mists are bordering a captivating very Berlin School procession fueled by pulsating percussions and spinning sequences. Saint Paul's Cathedral Chorus Girl by Picture Palace Music is a superb heavy and slow track where the synths scream with a dark passion. It's as dark as it is theatrical and it's very Thosrsten Quaeschning. W.A. dePHUL offers a surprising and a more romantic version of Sun Gate which he wrote in 1989 with Edgar Froese and Paul Haslinger. DE 7208 by Kagermann & Keller is another fascinating Berlin School-style track. Based on a strong bass line, the rhythm is heavy and swirls on sequences which alternate with vigor, weaving a heavy hypnotic and harmonic movement that synth layers and violins' sighs envelop in a bewitching melody that zigzags like a harmonic specter. Simply delicious! Intriguing, Schöne Landschaft evolves with the magnetism of its spell. This track without precise rhythm of Thomas Fanger progresses in the circles of its massive whirlpool, dropping frail notes which twirl in the wake of the winds to forge scattered melodic scraps which dance for a strange spheroidal ballet. After an intro full of silvery breezes, the rhythm of Improvised Music, Rainbow Serpent, plunges into an intoxicating structure of Berlin School. Cymbals with nervous clicks encircle circular chords which struggle to climb an ascending rhythm. Other chords are added. Their clarity, as well as their agility, light up a rhythm which undulates with its large oscillating loops under piercing solos. Vienna Calling, by Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder, works on a morphic rhythm which shivers slightly under the sober blows of sequences and percussions while the synths draw spectral tunes. The track delicately plunges into ambient corridors before bouncing furiously with tabla percussions whose unleashed strikes lean against the abundance of sequences which mold a frenetic rhythm under synth solos with twisted laments. Cosmic Hoffmann takes us along in his secret territories with Guitarmoon, a strange cosmic ballad nourished by the metal taste of the sitar strings whose chords resonate in aromas more psychedelic than electronic. Filterkaffee's Zeitmaschine closes this first CD with a dark and ambient title, eaten away by reverberating and caustic breaths which cling to pulsations as dull as they are discreet which emerge and disappear in a cerebral cosmos crushed by a bipolar musical poetry.

Nazareth, PA from Bas Broekhuis follows in the same vein as the Repelen series with a slightly hypnotic tribal rhythm wrapped in Thomas Kagermann's violin. True to its trademark, ['ramp] offers a heavy title full of resonant pulsations. Clear sequences flutter around the black rhythm of Track for Michael Hoenig, of which each pulse makes us vibrate the backbone. Heavy and powerful, this title by Stephen Parsick displays all the magic of the universe of an analogue EM where all the nuances and perceptions weave a bewitching parallel between the heavy rhythm which groped forward and the limpid harmonies forged in crystalline sequences. Forgotten Places is that kind of melody that weaves an earworm. It's a whole universe that Keller & Wienekamp draws in not even 6 minutes with sequences which whirl in the breaths of an absent synth, molding an innocent melody which strolls around sequences/percussions hits with anvil tones. A line of sequence comes to harpoon the hesitation, leading Forgotten Places in a delicate gallop which straddles plains with mists and harmonic solos while the rhythm ends up marrying a technoïd tangent. It's very melodious. With Moab-Jam, Lutz Graf-Ulbrich leads us to the borders of Krautrock's vintage years psychedelic improvisations with a well-chiseled guitar dropping its harmonies over tabla percussions. Philadelphia brings us back to EM territories with very some Vangelis synths that blow with vigor on scintillating sequences and sober pulsations. Abstract, the rhythm offered by Broekhuis & Schönwälder soon marries a lascivious groovy which sways smoothly under synths with harmonic breaths as spectral as sensual. Elements 18 from Rainbow Serpent is a beautiful melody that sits on a morphic techno genre where Isgaard's voice and Kagermann's violin soar with a tasty tribal/cosmic mix. Those who liked the Stranger album will love it. Metropolis Part 2 by Keller & Schonwalder is a pure ambient and floating delight while Rainy Day by Spyra stigmatizes our expectations with a furious tempo whose wide oscillating zigzags remind me of the fleeting rhythm of Tangerine Dream on Cool Breeze of Brighton. Sequences meander among the clicks of cymbals which kiss the rhythm of cold bites, awakening our senses as typist strikes speak in a strange solo, as if to escape the dense layers of a synth that also release sumptuous solos. Floating and vampiric solos that roam like the wings of predators, waiting for the fragility of the piano chords which subdivide the impressive rhythmic journey of Rainy Day. Absolutely awesome! Give honor where honor is due! Mario Schönwälder will conclude this superb compilation with Winterland, a rather ambient track where layers of synth with the aromas of fuzzy violins hatch a dark and secret atmosphere filled with choruses and wandering chords.

Like a safety deposit box which is opened every decade, MANIKIN RECORDS-SECOND DECADE 2002/2012 hides beautiful little gems. Musical pearls which perfectly depict the universe of Manikin. It's the door to a musical world which has no borders except the immense curiosity and avant-garde of its pioneers who transcend the Berlin School in order to always give it that second breath.

Sylvain Lupari (July 6th, 2012) *****

Available at Manikin Records Bandcamp

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