Manahil – Hadayane

Manahil, the side project of Adamind’s keyboardist Mathieu Fiset, is a breed of ambient/folk/world music with a wide variety of influences. You have extreme metal drumming (though synthetic), ethereal female vocals, Middle Eastern and Indian inspired melodies, and electronic/industrial elements into a package that is extremely multifaceted and a good buy for anyone into the ambient scene.

Perhaps it’s my typical taste speaking out, but I almost see this as ambient/folk music for metalheads. It’s possible that Mathieu’s other two bands, both prog metal, have influenced the craftsmanship of this one. The propulsive drumming, occasional prog metal guitars, and overall sense of writing seems to reflect a heavy metal background more than you would expect. This is not to say that’s it a heavy metal album by any stretch of the imagination; just that it’s the sort of ambient music produced by predominantly metal artists. The material is primarily composed of gentle, drifting, clean female vocals over complex, interlacing synth lines and tribal or metal drumming. Seems pretty straightforward, but the song structures vary things dramatically.

Each track emphasizes something different, with the other musical objects pushed into the background to compensate for increased focus on one figure. Some tracks have a greater emphasis on vocals, while others employ distorted guitars; many are focused squarely on the complex, proggy keyboard melodies. It all generally revolves around the same style, though: Middle Eastern/Indian folk music. It’s certainly modernized with the synthetic drums and subtle industrial and electronic elements, but the roots of the music are in folk.

I suppose, on that note, that your enjoyment of this album will greatly depend on whether you enjoy such a style of music. While the newer elements do certainly put a spin on the style, the basis is still on folk, and that will determine your satisfaction with ‘Hadayane’. Personally, I enjoy it as background music: the general stillness (at least compared to what I normally listen to) makes it a bit too thin for me to focus all my attention on, but I find it pretty nice as ambiance while I’m working. A good comparison would be to the African portions of the ‘Gladiator’ soundtrack. Did you enjoy that? Then you’ll absolutely love the music here. Overall, good, mellow music that is a pleasing listen throughout.

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~ by noktorn on October 3, 2007.

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