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A Manning Compendium

Well, this is a pleasant surprise. Anthony Manning was - like his erstwhile record label Irdial - an eccentric treasure of the mid-90s, and it's refreshing to be able to report that the compositions that make up A Manning Compendium (and they comprise a good percentage of his total output) sound as clear, compelling and distinctive as they did when they were first released. Manning's debut - Elastic Variations (1994) - was the product of an intuitive talent mucking around in serendipitous fashion with a Roland drum machine; and although Manning's music developed quickly from these sparse experiments, he never felt the need (like many of his contemporaries) to dabble in modish drum 'n' bass or relax in the vapidities of Ambient electronica.

As a result, releases like Islets In Pink Polypropylene and Chromium Nebulae combined the timeless clarity of Detroit Techno with a welcome, Eno-like quirkiness of approach. A piece like the 10-minute "Chromium Nebulae III", included here, is a poised miracle of astringent evolution, and an eloquent argument for Manning's continued significance.
The WIRE 01.04

Anthony Manning first came into the limelight during the mid-1990s with a number of 12" for legendary label IRDIAL. During those years, Manning produced a series of unfallible masterpieces that set him apart from the rest of the British electronica scene (namely, Aphex Twin clones...)

He went on to produce one of the definitive works of electronica, 'Islets in Pink Polypropylene' on a single drum machine. His music adopts the abstract, symphonic and song forms, using whatever piece of hardware is to hand.

On this lovingly made compilation, Unbearable Recordings have handpicked his finest work, and created a testament to Manning's first creative bout. Now living in self-imposed exile in Devonshire, Manning has also been an artist, car dealer, pub landlord, C++ programmer: in other words, a first class British eccentric and true renaissance man. Miss this extraordinary release at your own peril.
Warp Records

Though lumped in with the rest of the Brit-tronica crowd - thanks to a handful of 12” releases on the Irdial label in the mid 1990’s - Anthony Manning’s take was always closer to the organic warmth of Basil Kirchin and The Peter Thomas Soundorchestra (responsible for the key horn riff of Pulp’s ‘This Is Hardcore’) than the sledgehammer mind-fudge of Aphex Twin.

Here, this compilation of his best work gives rise to suspicions that he was moonlighting in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, ‘Elastic Variations I’ being tailor made for Tom Baker’s Doctor Who and ‘Islets In Pink Propylene IV’ doing a similar job for Space 1999. Was that on the BBC? Dunno, but this is the same kind of left-field genius that gave birth to Bagpuss and The Clangers, and praise comes no higher.

Manning's music transcends by far the boundaries of any genre to enter the field of pure musical invention. Fans of early Warp and off kilter electronics will love this.
forced exposure

This CD neatly compiles tracks from some now hard-to-find releases on the germstore and irdial labels. Deep production with a dark, subtle, often minimal edge and an unusual line in treated old school effects. Quality

We do not often do "Music review" things in This site, but telling that this is Good Electro Experimental Sound that I haven't heard for long. The Matrix that Anthony creates like sonar architek is Heavenly Different from any other.

cd - released November 2003
unbearable recordings - UNBCIDD004