This is one of those legendary, well-respected, classic, master albums. Here's what others have to say about Anthony Manning meticulously crafted work, Islets In Pink Polypropylene.
ANTHONY MANNING: Islets in Pink Polypropylene
writer John Twells. 16 Jan 2014
from FACT Magazine
Forgotten Classics is a new weekly feature, where we ask FACT contributors and noted diggers from across the spectrum to pick an obscure gem that they think has been unfairly brushed under the carpet and explain why it’s worthy of re-appraisal. First up….
Released in 1994 by the unpredictable Irdial Discs imprint (who later became notorious for their collection of Conet Project recordings), visual artist and musical explorer Anthony Manning’s debut album was way ahead of its time. It would be easy to lump Islets in Pink Polypropylene in with other ‘electronica’ records of the day, but Manning’s painstaking experiments were a marked degree of separation from Autechre’s crisp and chirpy Amber or even Aphex Twin’s esoteric Selected Ambient Works Volume II. This unique quality can be attributed to the fact that Manning had a particularly unusual production method, one which 20 years later sounds almost impossible to believe.
In his own words, the process took “many weeks per piece,” and those were weeks of spent doing very little else, including sleeping. The inherent speed bump in his process was that Manning had decided to limit himself to exclusively composing the album on a Roland R8, a cheap drum machine which was elevated (slightly) by its pitch function and fiddly (but serviceable) sequencer [Read More]
"This is astonishing music" ~Wire
"Anthony Manning's music has more in common with the great electronic composers like Steve Reich and Morton Feldman than many of his contemporaries. 'Islets' creates deeply moving tones that blend into vibrating percussion sections, like witnessing a sythesised Indian tabla player master at work. Purest moments of grace and poise. Along with 'Chromium Nebulae' on the shortlist for the Baked Goods desert island list. Timeless and indispensible." ~Baked Goods
"Marks a milestone in electronic music, nothing less. Flowing spheres of music, there gos on and on. This was original made on a Roland R-8 drum machine and I’m not kidding but listening too this beatless music, it makes it very hard to believe." ~Tine
"Unapologetically minimalist in its beatlessness and atonal splutter, this LP adheres to the Songs Have Been Done school by being one continuous piece divided into five nameless movements. Bang up the Ikea-fitted street of Michael Nyman and Phillip Glass, only rougher, less cyclical and cramming in more ideas. It's also far too engaging to be ambient. Put it on while ironing and you risk burning your prize garments.
The sharp, crystal melodies suck you in and the whole thing appears to grow and evolve like some continuously spiralling fractal. Flag-wavingly obscure and esoteric it may be, but 'Islets' is easier listening than you'd imagine." ~Select 1.95
"This isn't simply ambient, and it is not ambient dub. Anthony Manning puts together synth sounds with eccentric modifications for an ambient plink sound. Take two tabs, don your snorkel gear and swim with reef fish as they come into and out of focus, and the drugs move you back and forth with the ocean, and as the bubbles sparkle all around you as they head for the surface, you will understand the structure of the sounds. Bassy motions are the swells, and lighter synth sounds are the bubbles. Even the cover can convey the music. If you are a hopelessly religious conservative, stare at the cover while listening to the music at loud volume." ~Spies.com
"Manning is a key figure in early 90's abstract electronic music. I cannot quite get a handle on what he is up to here. Islets is oft-considered his greatest work, but I can't really measure it against anything else from the man. On it's own terms, it's an exquisite esoteric listen. I wonder what would've happened had he made himself into a brand name rather than say, Aphex Twin. The software is not quite there for him in '93 or '94 it seems, but he gets great effect from how he runs his tapes backwards, simultaneously letting lines bubble up and get sucked back down to the river bed.." ~imbidimts.blogspot.com
"What seems like an eon ago, well 1994 to be exact, the classic 'Islets in Pink Polypropylene' first shot into the public's gaze. The material still sounds light years away in terms of electronic composition, structure and instrumentation, feeling all the more astounding when you realise that all the material originates from the editing sections of the Roland R8 drum machine. Amazing and legendary album from Anthony Manning on the equally legendary Irdial label, from 1994. This album is a perfect summation of the term abstract electronica. Playing out like one long track, this music is beatless, and has a shifting, open structure. Oddly morphing keyboards wobble around some strange and disconcerting background textures in a most unique and strange way. If you work anywhere that requires you to wear a lab coat, this should be playing in the background at all times." ~stance-out.blogspot.com
Be sure to read Anthony Manning's own description of the process on his official website
The whole album was composed and realised on the Roland R8 drum machine. It followed the same process as the Elastic Variations pieces, with the major addition of many, many hours of editing [Read More]
MUSIC COPYRIGHTS: All Rights Reserved
IMAGE: album cover
NATIONALITY: Euro: W: France; Euro: UK: England
CLASSIFICATIONS: Electronic; Experimental; Contemporary Composition; Ambient; Drone; Percussion; Minimal
FILED UNDER: Digital: Art Progressive: Ambient, Minimal