Digital download, Wild Net Label, 2009
Illuminati conspiracy tracklisting? Check. Suitably misanthropic grayscale cover art? Check. Intriguing classification of sound or style? Check. Substantial, rewarding listening experience? Hum… not so much.
Allow me to elucidate: being something of a conspiracy nut, track names like “Novus Ordo Seclorum”, “XXXIII Degree” and “Haarp” immediately create expectations within me; something of a hope that somebody is willing to make some kind of musical statement. The incorporation of the “all-seeing eye” on the cover art only reinforces this. Add to the mix a descriptive classification of ‘Neoclassical /Ambient /Orchestral /Industrial’ and I’m sold.
Sadly, once the music starts, I’m suddenly not so sure anymore… Yes, there are orchestral elements throughout the record, but none that satisfy a soul that considers a well-rounded iTunes playlist to have Chopin’s Nocturnes rubbing shoulders with Skinny Puppy and Squarepusher. There are also some quasi-industrial moments, full of martial fervour (such as “Cura At Valeas!” and “Haarp”), but again nothing that makes my teeth hurt in response to machine-like sound manipulations. And overall, it is fairly ambient – but in the same way that John Williams orchestrations for summer blockbusters are. It’s merely background noise that, more often than not, requires some visual stimulus to develop some synergy of the senses.
So, alas, Manganese Evelyne’s far-reaching solo concept fails to score. Often, the message supercedes the medium, but not when that message fails to communicate strongly enough with its intended audience. Even fans of coldwave, dark ambient stuff are likely to find this release uninspiring. Better luck next time…
— David van der Merwe