Boomkat Product Review:
Playing ping-pong with wonderfully obscure sounds, ‘Secrets of Mana’ is a mixtape of magick conjured by The British Library’s Andrea Zarza Canova and Matthew Kent ov Blowing Up The Workshop who, together, run the Mana label.
Leading on from the moody mosaic of Kent’s 2018 mix for Good Morning Tapes, ‘Secrets of Mana’ sees him and Canova outdoing each other for obscurantism at each move, as the 90 minute mix steps off with ragga chat and ultimately lands in (what sounds like) some deep, South African soul pearl via reams of seemingly unrelated, yet compelling, selections from ambient to avant-garde sound poetry and raucous gamelan.
The mix’s zig-zagging logic and arrangement highlights contrasts and similarities between the far-flung regions, styles, rhythms and vibes of Mana’s label remit, which has already taken in a spectrum covering Pierre Mariétan’s ‘80s french sound art alongside concrète garage from Diptera, De Leon’s gamelan techno and the barely-hinged avant-garde folk of O Yama O.
All the above appear in some form or other inside the mix, stitched together at junctions which highlight their shared musical DNA and serving to limn a definition of Mana’s microcosmos at its most vast and nebulous.