Michael Manring


Thonk

Michael Manring - Thonk ©1994 Windham Hill
1. Big Fungus
2. Snakes Got Legs
3. Monkey Businessman
4. Disturbed
5. On A Day Of Many Angels
6. My Three Moons
7. Cruel And Unusual
8. Bad Hair Day
9. Adhan
10. You Offered Only Parabolas
11. The Enormous Room

Possibly best known for his much quieter new age solo bass albums on Windham Hill and his distinguished sideman activities for acoustic guitarist Michael Hedges, Michael Manring released an unexpectedly rocking fusion/metal album with a bunch of equally distinguished guests (Steve Morse, ex-Testament Alex Skolnick, fusion meister drummer Steve Smith, new age pianist Philip Aaberg and ex-Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander). Not surprisingly, the man's innovative bass playing is the focus of this record, with Manring performing his very personal rhythm tracks and lead-guitar-like melody lines and solos over elegant and often intricate drumming.

However stellar the cast, the highlights of this album are without a doubt Manring's remarkably musical virtuoso solo pieces, in particular the beautifully layered Bach-ian counterpoint of "Cruel and Unusual" and the very emotional "The Enormous Room". Manring's virtuosity, while quite evident at all times, is never flashy or in the way, as the man always exercises remarkable restraint, taste, and keen esthetic judgment in his playing and arrangements.

The vagaries of life as a professional musician have made Manring partake in questionable musical ventures; forget about those, and buy two or three copies of this record. Your collection will be grateful you did.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 12/2001

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