MANNA – Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of Now single review

Philadelphia’s MANNA conjures an anti-gravity epiphany with two Moog Mother-32s and a eurorack for Las Vegas’ Mystery Circles

Listening to “Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of Now,” the debut single from Philadelphia modular synthesist Manna Pourrezaei, is like exiting Earth’s stratosphere. Bubbling, burbling arpeggios rise out of a bedrock of amorphous ambient pads and clinical bass like some sort of anti-gravity epiphany, like novel neural pathways lighting up in anticipation of a new evolution.

Despite its celestial sound, MANNA’s intent is to draw her listeners closer to the world. Instead of cloistering away in a cocoon of audio soma, MANNA hopes “Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of Now” will inspire listeners to “fight the urge to detach as an observer. Instead, we take the stairs to street level and practice reentry with our respective spheres and communities.”

It certainly facilitates this laser focus. MANNA has honed her approach to longform composition over years of monolithic live ambient performances, performing with some of the brightest stars in the ambient firmament like Mary Lattimore or Laraaji. Longform ambient performances can be especially unforgiving, as there are no breaks or pauses, no filler or fluff. On “Joyful Participation,” she applies this concentration, focus, and attention to detail to a four-and-a-half minute sonic odyssey.

To help switch things up and keep things interesting, Pourrezaei syncs up two semi-modular Moog Mothers 32s and a eurorack, which she runs through a Wrong Sound Stage II Spatializer as well as the Animoog Z app and a vector synthesis wavetable, to keep things unpredictable and interesting.

MANNA’s background in the visual arts and design let her approach ambient music and sound in fresh and unexpected ways. Add in an interesting outlook on life and the world and an artisan’s attention to craft, quality, and detail and you’ve got a formidable talent to keep an eye out for.

MANNA is the newest outcropping of a fertile, exciting arts scene in Philadelphia, springing from performance series like Modular on the Spot and Great Circles, a radio station, record label, and event coordinator. Keep an eye on the City of Brotherly Love; exciting things are happening!

“Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of Now” is out now on Mystery Circles.

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