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Four snippets and a full-fleshed track - 65%

ThyBlackHalo, September 12th, 2018

The fourth instalment in Manes' self-released online series, "#415 :: Thin Air" is a collection of three songs, two of which presented in two versions.

The two Yodel pieces feature an intricate display of melodic lines played by different instruments and electronic percussions. These are obviously not jodels in the traditional sense. Nor in the etymological sense: the word "jodel" has an imitative origin, mimicking a scream of joy. The melodies here are wistful and not joyous. Both tracks end quite abruptly.

Dissipation are two demos/snippets of Last Lights from "How the World Came to an End". The track always struck me in the album as an aside, a small romantic (but still eerie) moment in the midst of a technological and psychological apocalypse. These demos are very different from the final product. The plucked notes patterning in the background are there (before being almost completely replaced by oscillating synths in a later stage), but without the vocals, arguably the main ingredient in the album version, the track is almost unrecognisable. The super distorted guitars crocheting on top of the base are particularly alienating.

When demos are in such an early stage it's hard to tell whether they are demos of a track or just early ideas that were later recycled for something else. This creative process is more elastic than a simple evolution within songs.

Ease Yourself is the most surprising track of the lot, because its stage is much more advanced. It is Ease Yourself Back (Into Consciousness) which would later appear in the compilations "Teeth, Toes & Other Trinkets". The liner notes of the release say it was "recorded during the "Vilosophe" album pre-production sessions at Cernobyl Audiogenics ca. 2002", and as far as I can hear the two versions are the same. It features vocals, and the descending synth arpeggios reminiscent of Tangerine Dream are so good it's surprising they didn't make the final cut of something more than a compilation of outtakes. It's a simple idea used to a perfect end.