“Musicamorosa” reviewed by Cyclic Defrost

For this release, Jorge Mantas acts as an esthetician and a sound designer more than a composer or artist. The thematic concept around which this album orbits is one drawn from the French literary tradition, that of love lived through sadness. In particular, author Marcel Proust serves as a muse for the romantically inclined Mantas, who envisions his work as a suitable sound atmosphere to the images evoked by the formers masterpiece, In Search Of Lost Time.

From this kernel sprouts an attractive amalgam of cosmic ambition. “Un etourdissant reveil en musique” sets the bar almost impossibly high. Crystalline yet combustible, gentle yet hard, the lyrical drone of this piece is of such an evanescence that it ultimately comes to resemble a luminous plasma. Further works play more explicitly with memory and melancholy. Asides from the drone, Mantas has a fondness for natural sound collage and bruised acoustic instrumentals and he stitches them both into the fabric of numerous works. The rough textures of “Cantiques A La Gloire Du Soleil” are a suitable backdrop for manipulated voice and violin to drift across, sounding plaintively distant and ghostly as fragments of fresh sound come breaking in, wrestling one away from the stupor. In other places, these elements aid in a sensual adventure while at yet other moments they cement a simple but magical innocence or foster a sense of atmospheric aural illusion. In the sequence of these events, a strong, though admittedly threadbare, narrative is erected.

What prevents the ear from readily gulping down the sounds on display is Mantas’ occasional unwillingness to apply a critical sieve and test every note. This love of recollection is shown in a wholesome, unspoiled manner, and often in a way that is not without a certain charming candor, but all the same, the sweet perturbation of these sentiments sometimes betrays a wisp of self-importance which detracts from the effect. The album thus glows with and is itself occasionally overwhelmed by the magnanimity of its influences.

Max Schaefer

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