It’s actually incredibly tough to decide where to begin on this new offering from Italian producer Mana.
His last release in 2017 was a neo-classical effort that made sense. It held promise and hope. It stood for something. Seven Steps Behind does not.
It’s wildly unpredictable in a lot of ways. It will just veer, with no rhyme or reason, into territory you’d never think possible to be immortalised in recorded sound. If you were to step back, you might even think for a moment that it’s genius. But I'm not sure it is.
It feels like Mana is testing waters that didn’t need to be entered. We live in an age of experimentation and boundary-pushing, and he really must be commended for not just going beyond these boundaries but making sure he’s just about the furthest away possible, in a galaxy far, far away. It takes guts to try something this daring, and maybe - just maybe - we need people like Mana to show us just how far we could go.
The sounds used vary between ambient to nonsensical. Airy synth orchestrations pave the way for flutters of sounds that broach upon tormenting. Random patterns of noise attempt a semblance of melody - nothing is as it should be, and nothing is as it seems.
There is a hell of a lot to take in, so to keep it short - this is not an album for enjoyment unless you really enjoy tormenting people, in which case you could play it out loud to see who you piss off first. No, this is an album born to be an example. Of both what to do and what not to do. Don’t be afraid just to put it all out there and let the wildest corners of your imagination run riot.
Maybe we need those creatives like Mana to blur the lines so incredibly that you wonder if they’ve ever existed and if the musical limitations we set upon ourselves are here by a societal standpoint.
Maybe it is genius?