MANU is a project of Helsinki-based sound artist Mauno Tuominen from the band Sigma. His solo-debut “Sonic Landscapes” is an exploration of the interrelationship of landscape and soundscape as well as the exploration of granular-synthesis and its various musical applications.
The latter process is based on the same principle as sampling but this time around the samples aren’t played back in the conventional manner but split into small pieces (grains) instead. Multiple grains may be layered on top of each other and may play at different speeds, directions, volume, and frequency, among other parameters.
Similar to the works of Sigma the outcome of “Sonic Landscapes” shifts between improvised and composed parts. It results in expansive, occasional slightly experimental ambient soundscapes with implemented environmental/nature sounds and an organic edge, merging the introspective, surreal and imaginary. The sound design of two-part “Sampola” a part of “Lhasa” (with fine additional synth work by Nemesis’Ami Hassinen) and final track “Arisaig” doesn’t stray far from Kitaro’s “Ten Kai/Astral Trip”. Contrary to this is the ambient-abstract “Oumuamua” made up of pure sounds and timbre manipulations only without any traditional compositional structure.
I’d say Mauno’s haunting, descriptive and deepening spherescapes turn out best on “Omuro 88”, “Sant Antimo” and the ethereal/meditative “Nanzenji” (where the audio source is a single recording of a Tibetan Shang-bell played with strokes and singing-bowl techniques). Headphone listening is recommended.
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