Music Reviews


Start Breaking My Heart


MrMoustache1620: Alright.

MrMoustache1620: So.

SuperVanityBrothers: i’m eating an apple.

SuperVanityBrothers: so how are we gonna do this?

MrMoustache1620: Let’s start with a little background

MrMoustache1620: Manitoba is a Canadian 20-something, yes?

MrMoustache1620: Making electronic music

SuperVanityBrothers: true

MrMoustache1620: You know anything else?

SuperVanityBrothers: he moved to the hip city of london, of course.

MrMoustache1620: They used to have castrati…back in the glory days of opera..

SuperVanityBrothers: rightt

MrMoustache1620: Opera singers who made themselves into eunuchs, in order to sing soprano.

MrMoustache1620: I think electronic music producers have been using lobotomies in a similar fashion.

MrMoustache1620: I don’t know. We’ll get back to that later.

MrMoustache1620: So, he moved to London.

SuperVanityBrothers: yeah. they all do.

SuperVanityBrothers: so let’s just start at Dundas, Ontario.

SuperVanityBrothers: named for location, no doubt

SuperVanityBrothers: a synth line that recalls certain pastoral textures.

MrMoustache1620: Incisive.

SuperVanityBrothers: i’m listening right now

SuperVanityBrothers: lots of psychotic crackling and such

SuperVanityBrothers: and then a 2/4 beat hits me like nobody’s business.

MrMoustache1620: It recalls a certain non-Canadian electronic group..

MrMoustache1620: that uses Canada in their name, without a doubt, to sell records.

SuperVanityBrothers: yes, quite right.

MrMoustache1620: It’s a stuttered 2/4 beat, though, you should mention.

MrMoustache1620: Very Electronic.

SuperVanityBrothers: lot’s of stuttering and psychotic feel, as i said before.. it’s a great effect, maybe it has something to do with the lobotomies

SuperVanityBrothers: otherwise it’d be uncalled for.

MrMoustache1620: I mean, really, if you were going to count that weird stutter as an augmentation of the 4th beat, you could say it was 4/4, maybe..

MrMoustache1620: The funny thing about beat-oriented music is that since people are using the same drum samples, beats aren’t accented in the same way

MrMoustache1620: Time Signature is a pretty funny issue..

MrMoustache1620: I think Manitoba has a very distinct pattern he uses, beat-wise on the album.

MrMoustache1620: Here he uses drum samples, later its just jazz fusion samples..but they similarly repeat, repeat + stutter, and then loop.

SuperVanityBrothers: speaking of which, this next track has some phat beats

SuperVanityBrothers: the drum palette is a huge issue.

MrMoustache1620: I kind of like that glockenspiel-y sounding thing.

MrMoustache1620: “People Eating Fruit”.

MrMoustache1620: You’ve got the synthy, Weather Report sounds…

MrMoustache1620: with the gurgling layer underneath..

SuperVanityBrothers: yeah

SuperVanityBrothers: it could be rhodes, glockenspiel, vibes, whatever..

SuperVanityBrothers: the point is, it’s insta-happy

SuperVanityBrothers: i heard an album last year from this group ‘telefon tel aviv’.. this is a lot like that.

MrMoustache1620: Well, it’s a huge issue.. but I feel like it’s dwarfed by the issue of how this album is a unified whole.

MrMoustache1620: Is there a specific vision at play here or is it entirely derivative?

MrMoustache1620: I mean, two tracks into it, we can see the main precedents.

MrMoustache1620: Yes, I heard that too.

MrMoustache1620: We should probably say that the Manitoba album was just reissued, though.

MrMoustache1620: It came out last year also, but Domino records put it out on a wider scale just recently.

SuperVanityBrothers: it’s derivative.

MrMoustache1620: I thought the Telefon Tel Aviv record was waaaaay to polite.

SuperVanityBrothers: you’ve got an amalgam of warp records – in the ’90s, and more recent laptop meanderings which have become very popular.

MrMoustache1620: I feel similarly about Start Breaking My Heart

MrMoustache1620: I don’t even hear the more “recent laptop meanderings” in this, so much.

SuperVanityBrothers: so what do you have to say about the beginning and end of “people eating fruit”, then?

MrMoustache1620: It’s very light on laptop meanderings 🙂

SuperVanityBrothers: alright.. then, the tendency in this music for weirdness has developed into something entirely ordinary.

MrMoustache1620: Wait!

MrMoustache1620: You forgot the ever-present element of Fusion Jazz and the resurgence of it through the first couple of Tortoise records, etc..

SuperVanityBrothers: no, that occurred to me.

SuperVanityBrothers: it brings us appropriately to the next track.

MrMoustache1620: “People Eating Fruit” is over 6 minutes long.

MrMoustache1620: With one of the most obnoxious drumbeats I’ve ever heard.

MrMoustache1620: With some very goofy, cliched vocal samples..

SuperVanityBrothers: yes

SuperVanityBrothers: it’s very marumari in that respect

SuperVanityBrothers: goofy children samples recur throughout the record.

MrMoustache1620: Right.

MrMoustache1620: The problem is, in spite of all of this cliche, I still feel there’s something kind of charming about the album.

MrMoustache1620: “Mammals Vs Reptiles”.

MrMoustache1620: Well, you can’t say that’s patently Muramari.

MrMoustache1620: That’s patently BAD ELECTRONIC MUSIC.

MrMoustache1620: it’s all over the place.

MrMoustache1620: Look at those early Cage tape pieces..

MrMoustache1620: or any of the French Music Concretins.

MrMoustache1620: I didn’t mean to write off any electronic music that used children’s voices..

SuperVanityBrothers: the main thing that strikes me is the use of repetitive synth phrases and bell sounds (the ones we mentioned earlier)

SuperVanityBrothers: i mean, maybe those instruments had a playful nostalgic feel to me a few years ago, but now it’s nothing of the sort.

MrMoustache1620: Yes.

SuperVanityBrothers: oh, and the presence of the major scale on many of the tracks.

MrMoustache1620: With 10 songs that sound virtually the same..

MrMoustache1620: At least he’s consistent..

MrMoustache1620: There really aren’t many surprises, though..

MrMoustache1620: There’s not much particularly exciting.

MrMoustache1620: Let’s go look at the Pitchfork review. They gave it an 8 or something.

MrMoustache1620: Let’s see what those Fashion Tastemakers have to say.

SuperVanityBrothers: let’s see

MrMoustache1620: Oh man.This guy talks about his favorite thrift store for 4 and half pages!

MrMoustache1620: No! I’m not interested in your new pair of khakis and Asian girlfriend!

SuperVanityBrothers: heheh

MrMoustache1620: Ok. So. He brings of Boards of Canada too.

SuperVanityBrothers: well. i think what manitoba is really getting at, is some type of hypnosis.

SuperVanityBrothers: with the skittering drums and repetitive melodic phrasings.

SuperVanityBrothers: but it’s unlike Bored of Canada in that Boards has a unique constructional basis for their music – how they arrange tones to achieve specific flavors, etc. this is only similar in aesthetic.

MrMoustache1620: Oh. We’re on the next track, we should say.

MrMoustache1620: “Brandon”…

MrMoustache1620: They all run together at this point.

MrMoustache1620: We’re four tracks in.

MrMoustache1620: It’s not his fault.

MrMoustache1620: It’s his software.

MrMoustache1620: We should probably tell everyone at this point

MrMoustache1620: that Manitoba uses exclusively Two Measure Sequencers

MrMoustache1620: and one Weather Report cd-r, he downloaded back when Napster was up.

SuperVanityBrothers: yes

SuperVanityBrothers: is that any good?

MrMoustache1620: I mean, he’s named after a Canadian place, Bored of Canada is named after a Canada…

MrMoustache1620: What’s the big fucking deal?

MrMoustache1620: I mean. It’s a big place.

MrMoustache1620: You’d think there would be some different view points on music.

SuperVanityBrothers: it is.

SuperVanityBrothers: does anybody in Canada really care?

MrMoustache1620: But no. This is what all Canadians do.

MrMoustache1620: They just listen to this album.

MrMoustache1620: All day.

MrMoustache1620: This melody build-up in “Brandon” is kind of nice, though.

SuperVanityBrothers: it’s like the ‘pause’ album from four tet… which everyone claimed to be a breakthrough..

SuperVanityBrothers: all talking about it being organic, a fusion of electronic and acoustic. which was the big emphasis on “endless summer”. but that’s bullshit.

SuperVanityBrothers: it’s as though we’ve forgotten our musical history.

MrMoustache1620: I’m really torn here.

MrMoustache1620: The melodies aren’t without merit.

MrMoustache1620: It’s a production issue, I think.

MrMoustache1620: Electronic music is the new Do-It-Yourself punk rock, I think people are accepting that..

SuperVanityBrothers: well, they seem largely improvisational. or somehow amelodical.

MrMoustache1620: and the palette is similarly single-minded.

SuperVanityBrothers: i skipped “children play well together”.. that’s a shitty name. the song is pretty shitty too

SuperVanityBrothers: “lemon yoghourt” is obviously the standout track.

MrMoustache1620: Well, on “Children Play Well Together”, I realized why I like Manitoba’s melodies so much.

MrMoustache1620: They’re the exactly the same as Tortoise’s…

SuperVanityBrothers: i guess so, with the arpeggiation and all.

SuperVanityBrothers: but maybe we shouldn’t just be looking at all the ways in which it’s derivative – it’s obvious. there’s no way Manitoba isn’t aware of that. it could be, rather, a culmination of his influences.

MrMoustache1620: Sure. That’s fair. So, for our readers out there. If you want to see how an electronic musician from Canada filters his influences (his influences largely comprised of musicians from the past decade), check out Start Breaking My Heart. Personally, however, I recommend holding out until Manitoba becomes something more than just an elaborate mix tape.

Domino Records:

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