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Manitoba is music by Dan Snaith. He blew everyone's mind away in 2000 with his debut release "Start Breaking my heart" making people's "best of" lists and charting pretty much everywhere. Who would have thought that he would blow our minds twice as hard with his second release "Up in Flames". (It's so good I got whiplash from it!) To say the least this album is a MUST for any music collection. Even though it is only April I can say that this will make my "top ten" list for this year. These new songs differ from the others released by Manitoba in the sense that these tracks are more structured, less ambient and just more lively and energetic. But don't worry, there are all sorts of quiet strange blips, creaks and other weird samples keeping it all together. Although more structured, these songs are not nearly as predictable as his older stuff. You have to hear it to compare it. And yes, it is electronic music even though it may not sound like it at first. "Up in Flames" has catchy space vocals, beats, fantastic horn pieces, fuzz, glockenspiel bits and real guitar and bass. Dan is leaving behind his laptop approach to music and making way for live performers to add to his electronic grooves. This album is a collection of feel good songs, a perfect blend of space pop, jazz, electronica and strange quiet blippy music box noises found in-between songs. You could pick any song off this album and play it after a track by Microstoria or the Stone Roses and the flow will be equally as good. Not just another album that involves pressing buttons on a laptop and a drum sequencer.. It's live, hot and it will be stuck in your head forever! Highlights for me are "I've lived on a dirt Road all my life" and "Every Time she turns around it's her birthday." This new direction in sound is a great place to take electronic music. Lets hope this trend is shared by others. (I am keeping my fingers crossed)

By anne sulikowski
Apr 12, 2003

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