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Michael Manring - Soliloquy CD (album) cover

SOLILOQUY

Michael Manring

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.65 | 3 ratings

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1791 Overture
5 stars What strikes me most about this album is how private it is - not in the sense of dealing with intimate issues, but in the sense that its atmosphere demands solitude. As the title of the third track, Solipsism, suggests, this album is best enjoyed when the rest of the world ceases to exist. There is only the man and his bass(es), and really, what's the difference between them? Michael Manring is devoted to treating the bass as a "total instrument" - it acts as a self-contained ensemble to fill out the listening experience, and yet at the same time it's always perfectly alone, ready to awe you with the silence it leaves behind in between the notes it plays. This is an album of rich grooves and textures, rooted in New Age and jazz-fusion music, but with an avant-garde touch all their own that makes this music impossible to classify. It is tasteful, but in no sense ambient or incidental - on the contrary, the listener will be rewarded with an enthralling experience that demands his or her total attention. Manring's technical skill is obvious, and frankly somewhat astounding, but he puts it to use so creatively that even those allergic to solo albums of "shredders" and "heroes" will find much to enjoy here. Manring throws out phrases and then immediately beings decorating and recapitulating them, the bass dancing around its own pocket so effortlessly that it seems to betray the skill of two musicians simultaneously - and yet, as I said before, there is never any mistake that this is a single instrument playing. Manring is simultaneously the percussive rhythm, the melody, and the groove that cements them; his playing is truly a joy to listen to, and not to be missed by anyone even remotely interested in the bass or the creative use of instruments in general. His signature sound also includes constant changes in tuning, a liberal use of harmonics, and several interchanging picking techniques; his bass is whatever the piece wants it to be.

This is beautiful music - it fills me with the kind of excitement that makes me want to run to the nearest person and tell them about it. If you're looking for music that is not only profound, but also progressive in the truest sense of the word, look no further. Five stars.

1791 Overture | 5/5 |

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