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Album of the Week: Mano Le Tough 'Changing Days'

The beautiful sounds of Mano Le Tough's debut LP...

Artist: Mano Le Tough
Album: Changing Days
Label: Permanent Vacation
Release Date: 22/2/2013

Mano Le Tough's debut long player should be considered a triumph. Though not breaking any radically new musical ground, it is a polished and creatively woven collection of rich tones and textures with simple but poignant melodic riffs. Lovely stuff.

Irish born, Berlin based Niall Mannion has enjoyed a rapid ascendancy on the scene, Permanent Vacation being the most recent of several reputable labels to release him and Panorama Bar the most legendary of many German venues to count him as a regular. He's also had a lot of love from both Diynamic and Innervisions, two labels we absolutely froth over here at Spotlight HQ. In fact if you saw the Diynamic crew play at all last year, you probably came across his remix of Irish compatriot Roisin Murphy's track Simulation.

Mannion is part of a group of producers and DJs intent on injecting emotion and melody back into house and techno and this album does that excellently. It's cohesive, perhaps erring on the side of homogeny, but without getting tedious. His first right move was putting his own vocals to the beats, adding a level of intimacy between producer and listener.

The attention to tone colour on this album is striking; in Moments of Truth, for example, with the satisfying combination of a sharp and heavily oscillating synth knocking its way down the octaves and slicing up the warm, well rounded xylophonic pedal. Sounds of an electric organ also feature in different guises across the whole album, coyly twisting across the upper register in Everything You've Done Before or holding the deep and noble notes of Nothing Good Get's Away.

Most tracks don't exactly have you bursting out of your seat to throw shapes, but they could easily soundtrack those special dance floor moments where your bottom half irresistibly stomps out the beat whilst your top half blisses out to harmonies, probably closing your eyes and twirling your fingers or something hardcore like that.

The strong drone of Dreaming Youth is completely hypnotic and towards the end when Mannion's voice, soft as a panflute, begins repeating ‘spend my youth dreaming' you snap back into yourself and realise you've been spacing out big time, as the song suggests. Basically this album really gets you in the zone; what that ‘zone' may be depends entirely on you, the music will send you blissfully into yourself for an hour in an experience which can be as meaningful or meaningless as you like.

“I guess I try and make music that has an emotional resonance without being overly sentimental or schmaltzy,” Mannion told Resident Advisor. “It means a lot to me to try and connect with the listener on a deeper level and add something to their lives that's more than a hands in the air 5am moment in a club (although there is nothing wrong with that).”

That task is achieved, A+

Now somebody bring him out to Ibiza - Innervisions, I'm looking at you.


01. Cannibalize
02. Everything You've Done Before
03. Changing Days
04. Dreaming Youth
05. A Thing From Above
06. Primative People
07. Nothing Good Gets Away
08. Please
09. Moments of Truth
10. The Sea Inside

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