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Album Review

Jonas Munk delivers more cascading melodies and shards of fuzzy guitar dramatics on Ascend, his second LP as Manual for Morr Music. It's probably no small coincidence that the sleeve design for the album resembles Fennesz's Endless Summer from a year prior. (The similarity is blindingly obvious, actually.) The scenic shot of a sunlit coast just prior to sundown imparts the environment that is most conducive to the album, complementing it in an ideal manner. The approach of the music holds something in common with Endless Summer as well. Like Christian Fennesz, Munk combines treated guitar with glitch elements and an IDM producer's sense of mind-boggling electronic manipulation. However, Munk's more of a pop boy. More importantly, he has a sound of his own. His distinctive melodies have an impossible-to-evade presence, practically shooting beams of light, and they're just as likely to be crammed with weepy fragility as they are blissful rapture. The opening "Midnight Is Where the Day Begins" springs to life warily (creaking, clanking glitch effects), taking a couple minutes to wind up before eventually launching into the stratosphere with clapping drum machines and several rays of bizarre drones. "The Distance" is another one that starts small and ends big, beginning with flapping percussive noises that enter from various angles and end up falling into the background, as several gleaming elements from guitars and keyboards take center stage. Despite the inherent warmth and brightness of Munk's recordings, they always sound intensely private. Certainly the basement in which these songs are made has several windows that allow the sun to shine in and affect this gifted producer's work.

Customer Reviews

Beautifully Deep!

I have been huge fan of this musician's work for years. Manual's work is one of the most overlooked musician's out there to date. Every release is a gem for those who are looking for solid guitar ambient electronica bliss. This is an excellent start to his work.


Born: Odense, Denmark

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A producer that works within a realm where glitch and ambient pop overlap, Odense, Denmark's Jonas Munk applies his knowledge of piano, bass, and guitar -- instruments he began playing in his early teens -- to soundscapes of programmed beats and crackles and creakings. Under the name Manual, Munk debuted with a well-received self-titled 12" on the Hobby Industries label. In late 2001, the full-length Until Tomorrow was released by Germany's Morr Music. Like late-period Talk Talk, one of Munk's prime...
Full Bio