Sunday, July 5, 2020
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MAN: Helping Hand

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Artist: MAN
Title: Helping Hand
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa
Rated: *****
French duo Man, formed by François Rasim Biyikli (piano, Rhodes, guitars, melodica, noises) and Charles-Eric Charrier (acoustic bass, guitar, toys), are surely not afraid to experiment with different genres and inputs, naming influences as diverse as Satie and Labradford, Morricone and Arto Lindsay... Their third full-length release opens with a bizarre (and not entirely successful) rhythmic, and sung, track, but don't be deceived: most of "Helping Hand" is slow, delicate and painfully melancholic. The slo-mo heartbreak of "Drifting" merges the delicate atmospheres of Chaveau, Tiersen or Comelade with the vigorous post-fusion instrumentals of "TNT"-era Tortoise. Hectic euphoria sparkles here and here, but Man surely work best with autumnal soundscapes like "Separation" or "8mm", which closes the disc with a powerful crescendo. Their pieces are often daring, and not always balanced - sometimes the different elements just don't match that well, and end up being more distracting than fascinating - but "Helping Hand" is surely worth repeated spins to catch its different nuances.


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