June 1999

Michael Manring
The Book Of Flame
Alchemy Records

The latest release from this innovative electric bass iconoclast teams him with a host of characters, including reedist Paul McCandless.

Throughout, Manring flexes his percussive yet slippery instrumental approach, which is capable of conjuring a wide array of textures and colors. Amazing multidimensional polyphonic pieces such as "The Fire Sermon," "No Wontons for Elvis," and "The Book of Living and Dying" (written for his late compatriot Michael Hedges) were recorded without the benefit of editing or overdubbing. And while most of the pieces gravitate toward '90s electronic post-fusion impressionism, he occasionally mines some pop veins, as on "Adult Content/Brief Nudity," which slips in and out of a funky hip-hop groove. Creatively exploring new bass frontiers, Manring does it all with a healthy dose of humor, exemplified by not only his tune's titles but also many of their musical elements.

Originally published in June 1999
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