Best Music Spotlight

Manjul – Emperor

Photograph of the blog post author, Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan Robinson


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Hazy sound design and tight rhythms. Dreamy choral voices and coloured melodic leads. Emperor artfully controls melodic and rhythmic work for an impressively composed piece.


Amidst the traditional acoustic instrumentation is some expertly articulated electronic sound manipulation. At times bordering on electroacoustic aesthetics with heavy filtering and almost non-musical audio degradation. This type of production adds layers of sonic complexity and a refreshingly original angle to the sound.

The core arrangement of the track dutifully fulfils the expectations of a reggae track. Textured but balanced percussion, evocative filter sweeps and soulful delivery are all present. It’s the elements that are taken further that make this track stand.

 The melodic lead has a uniquely expressive delivery. Moving around and exploring chord tones for dramatic emphasis of colour and quality. The extended techniques used creates raspy growling sounds, and fragile dips around the pitching. A powerful sense of human performance is present, and in some ways emphasised by the more artificial sounding effected sections. For example, a high feedback delay comes into play. Sounding just on the edge of self-oscillation this creates a glitchy repeat of non-musical sound. However, it maintains its texture and pitch, becoming a distinctive sound in the mix, and in the outputs of peers.

Throughout the track these ideas come in and out of prominence. This creates a particularly unique method of dynamic shifts. In some sparser moments, where none of the initial instrumentation is present, the track feels wholly different in composition. The fading delays and distant filters closing creates an ethereal, almost ambient atmosphere. Though brief, these moments define the overall sound and distinguish the compositional awareness present from similar outputs.

  • Overall rating: 8.5/10
  • Pairs well with: A Poets Life – Tim Armstrong

Stream ‘Emperor’ on Deezer:

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