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Manikin Records: the First Decade

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Manikin Records--First Decade--1992-2002 (double CD on Manikin Records)

During the Nineties, Manikin Records has established itself as a leading purveyor of quality electronic music focusing on the style known as the Berlin School of Electronics.

Limited to 777 copies, this intensely worthwhile release contains an abundance of material that is guaranteed to make the electronic music follower salivate uncontrollably. Instead of culling pieces from the numerous Manikin CDs from the past decade, this double CD features new and previously unreleased material by musicians who have been (and in some instances will be) released by the label.

The first disc is entitled "Ten Short Tracks" and features 77 minutes of previously unreleased pieces (all recorded in the new millennium except were noted) by:

Spyra: sedate E-perc sways amid a flurry of swooping keyboards and lively electronics. Tastefully structured and mildly energetic.

Harold Grosskopf: a grindingly slow-build piece of percussives and undulating electronics by this noted German percussionist who has repeatedly played with Klaus Schulze and Ashra. This track was recorded in 1976.

Fanger and Schönwälder (featuring Lutz Ulbrich): these two frequent collaborators are joined by Ashra alumni Ulbrich to produce a lavish and significantly uptempo excursion into thrilling electronic music, lush with pulsing electronics and driving E-perc.

Klaus Schulze: the master himself offers a delightful 7+ minute new track for this collection. Languid electronics intertwine with synthetic violin strains and bubbling E-perc.

Fanger & Kersten (aka Mind-Flux): ricocheting keyboards establish a tempo for a profusion of overlapping electronic textures and snappy E-perc rhythms that conspire to achieve a forceful hypnosis.

Arcanum vs. Otarion: Bernd Braun and Rainer Klein conduct a sonic duel that surges as it hauntingly unfurls into an energetically rhythmic voyage into glorious altitudes.

Mario Schönwälder: notably more passive than the other tracks, here electronics unwind with regal effect to generate a brief, contemplative track. This piece was recorded in 1990.

Nightcrawlers: gurgling mechanics usher the listener into a realm of stately keyboards and atmospheric textures. This piece was recorded in 1991 by American synthesists Peter Gulch, Steve Gulch, and Dave Lunt.

Beatboys: deeply toned keyboards produce a cyclic lunar adventure.

Digital Mechanics: delicate electronics blend with quasi-strings in an ambient vein that builds to a rhythmic peak of surging power.

Fanger and Schönwälder: darkly atmospheric electronics gradually accrete rhythm and substance with pulsing electronics and lively E-perc. This track is not really "short", clocking in at 14+ minutes, and was recorded live in Berlin on 2.2.02.

The second disc is entitled "Seven Long Tracks" and features 78 minutes of material by:

Rainbow Serpent: mixing radio samples and vocoder vocals with demonstrative electronics that build to significant voracity with sweeping textures and driving riffs.

Keller and Schönwälder (with Bas Broekhuis): atmospheric melodics evolve into an epic homage to the Berlin School of Electronics with lively E-perc and nimble-fingered keyboard sequences. The music grows more active with each passing minute, reaching a frenzied crescendo of awe-inspiring intensity. This piece is really "long" at 17+ minutes, and was recorded live during a concert in Berlin on 1.1.02.

Ramp: exploring the darker side of electronics with moody tones and driving sequences that spiral from obscurity into the light, achieving a vivid presence of frantic riffs crammed together into a particularly concrete mass.

Steve Hug: a gritty electronic surf blends with crystalline chords to produce a thought-provoking excursion of cyclic keyboard riffs that cavort and twirl with joyous abandon.

Rolf Trostel: heavenly atmospherics mixed with choral vocals lead into uptempo electronics that continue to ascend beyond the stratosphere to expand in interstellar space.

Detlef Keller: pleasant keyboards and cheerful electronics accomplish a chilly airiness of almost shrill proportions.

Electric Orange: meandering minimalism that gradually achieves a coherent demeanor of ascending clockwork quality with processional electronics, fanciful antique organ riffs, and languid guitar strains. Bears distinct semblance to early Ash Ra Tempel.

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