Manual Into Forever (w/ Icebreaker International)

[The Sound of a Handshake; 2003]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: electronica, electro-acoustic, ambient, glitch
Others: Icebreaker International, Christian Kleine, Tangerine Dream

What better collaboration could there be this year than Jonas Munk (Manual) and Alexander Perls (Icebreaker)? Into Forever, their first full-length album together, extends the collaboration these two artists made for last year’s expansive Morr Music compilation, Blue Skied an’ Clear. The two of these artists have pretty much molded a name for themselves in their own rights, yet together are about to voyage on a new (and hopefully continuing) journey into pristine electronic tranquility. Their label, The Sound of a Handshake, is a subsidiary of the infamous Morr label: this is its first release. Beautiful combinations of Munk’s beautiful, albeit new-age, sounding guitar and ethereal meshes of Perl’s ambience clearly show that the two have done their homework. Munk and Perl will whisk you away to a secretive (and cerebral) place where your dreams will be analyzed by higher beings. This is music that will eliminate a lot of your worries and, if only for the length of this album, provide an amiable sense of hope for a better tomorrow. The guitar and electronics on the title track “Into Forever" is a prime example of how these two artists are capable of playing off the other’s emotions. On songs like “The Inner Rings,” “The Outer Rings,” and even “Now Forever,” the bulk of the duties are reliant upon Perl’s unremitting ability to provide the illusion of infinite space. However, Munk is never too far behind to give these songs a gentle touch of playfulness. The end result of this phenomenal collaboration is an album that competes on every level with the likes of one of today’s premier electronic technicians, Ulrich Schnauss. 

1. The Countdown
2. Into Forever
3. The Inner Rings
4. A Thousand Years
5. A Turning
6. The Outer Rings
7. Beacons
8. Now Forever