Manorexia: The Mesopelagic Waters
The new album from Manorexia. The album is 50 minutes long and contains eight tracks, radically rearranged from the first two Manorexia albums and performed by the chamber ensemble version of Manorexia in the arrangements that JG has been performing and perfecting over the last couple of years. From the sleevenotes:
"Manorexia was conceived in the year 2000. I began working on the first album on Thanksgiving morning and released it in 2001. It was started as an electronic and sample based project where I wanted to explore a spatial quality not existent in my other work. I released two albums as Manorexia, "Volvox Turbo" and "The Radiolarian Ooze", both on my label Ectopic Ents and exclusively thru my website foetus.org.
I had wanted to rearrange some Manorexia compositions for string quartet with percussion for some time, and proposed this to David Sefton at UCLA back in 2002, but in course of those discussions we switched to my Steroid Maximus big band.
Eventually I made the first live performance as Manorexia in Russia in 2006. Kenny Savelson at Bang On A Can proposed my going there for a performance at the same time as the Real Quiet trio of David Cossin, Felix Fan and Andy Russo. Real Quiet agreed to be the core of Manorexia for the Russian dates and we augmented the lineup with two violinists and a violist in Moscow. I rearranged some of the Manorexia material to be played by string quartet, piano, percussion and laptop with Ted Hearne.
I have since formed separate Manorexia ensembles in NYC and London. Manorexia has played at All Tomorrow's Parties, The Whitney Museum, Bang On A Can marathon, Brainwaves Festival and several times at The Stone NYC. This album is the product of the first wave of chamber arrangements of Manorexia material."
1. Armadillo Stance
2. Canaries in the Mineshaft
3. Toxodon Mourning
4. Zithromax Jitters
5. Chloe Dont Know Im Alive
6. Fluorescent Radiation
7. Tubercular Bells
Recently Thirlwell has been channeling his perverse, eclectic vision into an orchestral context: his Manorexia ensemble purveys intricate, sumptuously weird chamber works, nodding both to classical music and Thirlwell's stylized soundtrack for the Adult swim cartoon The Venture Bros.Time Out NY 5/6/09
JG Thirlwell presented an evening of two sold-out sets of music from his current project, Manorexia, an ensemble consisting of string quartet, piano, percussion, and himself on laptop. If you are familiar with Thirlwell's solo project Foetus or his fast paced big band project Steroid Maximus, this current ensemble may come as a surprise to you, as it is primarily quiet, sensitive, and dreamy. However there are hints of Thirlwell's other personalities hidden in the music: as haunting melodies drift over other-worldly harmonies, the potential of violence looms, with occasional bursts of industrial percussion and raw, repeated string figures that cut into the otherwise serene sound. Manorexia's music always seems to be on the verge of some magical discovery -there is a sense of wonder and amazement as the cinematic landscapes unfold. The most exhilarating and emotionally moving piece, "Chloe Don't Know I'm Alive" (from Manorexia's second album, The Radiolarian Ooze), began with a string unison while the pianist bowed a low piano string, emitting a glacial texture. Tom-tom tremolos swelled in and out of the sound as the string tunings shifted ever so slightly, creating immense emotional impact in an already apocalyptic atmosphere. In all this darkness, somehow the narrative of the piece ended up in light, as the harmonies brightened, and bells were ringing.Sergei Tcherepnin -Brooklyn Rail
The performance lasted an hour and change, but flew by in the blink of an eye. Thirlwell and co. performed several pieces from the project's two records, exploring a vast array of styles even under its more focused approach. There were elements of avant classical, minimalistic ambient, cinematic soundscape, and even a touch of rhythmic industrial throughout the evening's performance, all with a hint of that no wave edge Thirlwell cultivated in the 1980s. Some pieces were a mere two minutes in length, while others stretched over the course of ten minutes, changing gears several times over. Xylophones were bowed, violas were plucked, piano strings were strummed, and Thirlwell sat behind his desk, triggering a serious of electronics, looming over like a demented hybrid of a conductor and a manipulator. The songs themselves were cathartic. Some were hauntingly beautiful, while others invoked a catastrophic sense of dread that found every nerve underneath the skin. The audience watched everything unfold with an eerie silence, only chirping to burst into unanimous applause as each piece came to an organic conclusion, most often with a series of frantic and muted violin notes. Otherwise, you could hear a pin drop between the layers of sound from time to time, but rest assured, Thirlwell and co. were in complete control of their sonic territory, and wielded their instruments with precision and intent. Manorexia are rumored to have a third album due very soon, so I pray last night's show was a sign of more performances to come. We'll keep you posted...Frank Deserto -Limewire Music Blog
So it's a performance of fairly creepy, subtly exciting and wonderfully rendered pieces, featuring three lovely ladies on violins, one equally lovely lady on cello, one super chap on percussion and xylophones and whatnot and the foetus JG Thirlwell himself on laptop.
The least noticable part is played by Jim and frankly I have trouble figuring out exactly what is coming from his laptop, but it's unimportant. The whole thing is easily enthralling enough to pop me out of my Brooklyn Beer induced premature semi-slumber and raise the hairs on my neck. It's not horror music, but it is subcutaneous and it is impressive in its execution to the level that makes you sick and delirious with awe. It rolls and changes and surprises you. It is a show that finishes with you immediately walking up to buy a CD despite knowing that there is no way it can recreate what you just witnessed. It is one of those rare shows that makes you feel exceptionally lucky to be in a certain place at a certain time.
It is what it is all about. It is why I go out.Stuart London -Man Walks Into A Bar Blog