Published Dec 06, 2013Jan St. Werner had a busy year in 2013, releasing two improvisational full-lengths on Thrill Jockey while completing a new Mouse On Mars EP with partner Andi Toma (due out January 10). Somewhere in there, Werner found the time to form yet another side-project, joining Microstoria, Von Südenfed, Lithops and a half dozen more on his resume. Black Manual sees Werner jamming with samba and Candomblé percussionists Valdir Jovenal, Juninho Quebradeira and Leo Leandro, with select spoken words from Brazilian actor João Eduardo Albertini.
The results bombard the senses, with a mix of classic samba and digital noise, the kind of all-out barrage on the listener's rhythmic and melodic senses that one might experience taking mushrooms at Carnival. In typical samba fashion, the non-quantized, kitchen sink percussion taps into primal rhythms ingrained in the human soul from time immemorial, hinting at the pervasive presence of the divine, the chaos of which Werner's abrasive yet supportive electronic textures and tweaks could be seen to represent. While the album breaks on through to the other side a little too often to make for casual listening, Mordendo manages to bridge the gap between weird German experimentalism and Brazilian folk music in an uncanny fashion. (Brigade Commerz)