Words: James Phaily and Craig M.
Images: Gavin Morrow.
Having recently released the Mars and Venus editions of their magnum opus “DEEPFLESHRED,” (out now on FUSION RECORDS/Black_Box_Recordings) and on the back of the very successful curation and headline set at the latest NEW WEIRD PLANET Micro-Fest at The Doncopolitan Art-Space/Office on Copley Road–MANGABROS head-honcho Craig M. took time out with me to reflect upon his artistic “process,” the concept, the union of opposites and the and the musical alchemy that goes on deep within the tangled mind-forest of his creativity.
Intrinsic to the material available to listen to upon both the Mars and Venus editions of “DEEPFLESHRED,” is the ongoing and relentless theme of the alchemical union of polar opposites: yin and yang, dark and light, male and female, good and evil along with oxymoron’s galore are refracted through the musical spectrum on the project which Craig has been in the process of producing for the last 2 years.
Arguably, love is the intrinsic value to which we assign this barnstorming collection of beats: the canvas upon which Craig has adeptly painted these friezes of lust, longing, desire and the quest for happiness…spilt blood, arteries splayed, passion and war–all the unspoken emotions of a creative life, get-a-look-in, as we traverse up from the catacombs, upon the vehicle of a highly acute, intelligent dance music. A sound that is truly sublime; when considered as a whole, the music contained on these two “flip-sides of the same coin,” is surreally beautiful, joyous, yet not afraid to confront the issue.
Esoterically speaking, the MANGABROS sound infects the listener with a musical virus which both obliterates and transforms the soul. Its “no-pain/no gain,” where Craig is concerned, who adeptly specializes in sonically and lyrically taking us to the edge of reality, taking a look in the mirror of doubt and then banishing with a Bacchic, avant-garde, intrinsically psychedelic and somewhat godly laughter…where MANGABROS are concerned the Chaosphere reigns supreme. Nothing is true, yet everything is permitted…
Craig’s devotion to “chance and change,” is resplendent in his aleatory modus-operandi, often implying dice and other magical means, in order to divine his next sequence. In the creation of a track, Craig usually begins a song by sketching it out on his acoustic guitar. He then transposes this to MIDI and subverts the whole process with the contrasting interplay of cacophonous noise, glitch and sweet melodies which overpower you with their sublimity and sheer avant-garde otherness.
This can be heard most especially upon the tracks on which Craig has the lead vocal: we hear a contrast of styles, a guttural growl which is somewhat akin to Tom Waits fronting Aphex Twin. The uninitiated may not warm to it at first, however anyone would be hard pushed to deny, that a MANGABROS record is a totally unforgettable experience. The “guys” sound has little or no parallel to anything that is going on in dance music today.
It is too simple to say that the Mars and Venus releases are simply male and female editions. Despite the amount of guest vocals from female performers on the Venus edition, the sounds on both versions appear to be in conjunction with one another. What I mean is, although there is division within the editions, the albums can be listened to together, in whatever order the listener decides (indeed, preferably): both editions being an intrinsic part of each other, Janus-faced, two-in-one, if you like.
Through the alchemy of their sound, the pictures the guys paint are betwixt two worlds, possibly somewhere liminal and forgotten, buried deep in the unconscious mind of our communal cosmic mind.
In the live arena, MANGABROS hold sway and are definitely at their best. Looking around at one of their gigs, there is not one member of the audience who isn’t boogieing with a big smile on their face. The music is highly complex but it is not afraid to “get down with its bad self,” it is an extremely powerful sound the guys have and they are definitely dancefloor “mover and shakers.” Craig admits that the instrumental tracks are definitely the direction, the band are going; endlessly petitioning the audience with his relentless energy and avant-garde stylistics.
The MANGABROS artistic intention is arguably for audience and band to unite in a hedonistic cacophony of heavy beats: unfathomable layers, textures, computer programmed synth-lines and surrealistic sequences. What is perhaps most important is that the MANGABROS sound unites people from all walks of life; effortlessly pushing and pulling the cosmic envelope together. This modus-operandi is instigated in such a way, that no matter how many times you listen to a MANGABROS record, or go to one of their gigs, something new nestled deep within their sound will present itself to you and illuminate your experience.
With the advent of MANGABROS being signed and “DEEPFLESHRED” released by U.K underground label FUSION RECORDS, Craig has also started his own recording collective “BLACK BOX RECORDINGS.” According to Craig it was set up to provoke his favourite wayward artists into producing, far-out, boundary challenging personal bests which includes insightful DVD commentaries, bloopers and “making of” documentaries. This project is facilitated ably by Craig during each stage of his chosen artist’s “process,” so that they can benefit from his dynamic curative ideas and attitude to creative life. This all occurs so that all you music-makers and avant-garde aficionados can get the best new underground OUT-THERE sounds direct to your I-Pods. So watch this space…
In terms of artistic curation with his label, radio-show on Doncaster’s Sine FM (NEW WEIRD PLANET) and the creative direction the MANGABROS are taking both in the studio and at their hedonistic performances –Craig and the other Manga’s have a lot on their plate. However there is nothing like them as a sheer sonic force of nature on the underground scene and if you haven’t already checked them out I urge you to do so–I guarantee you won’t regret it.
The DEEPFLESHRED Mars and Venus editions are now available for download at:
There is also a limited edition cd/vinyl available soon at:
DEEPFLESHRED: Towards Mars and Venus–the further adventures of Craig M. and the MANGABROS.
Words: James Phaily and Craig M.