Anders Manga – Hexed

6.9 Overall Score
Production: 8/10
Songs: 8/10
Style: 7/10

Songs build up well from the beginning of each, and finish logically. The production is crisp and tight.

Repetitiveness in the songs.

Anders Manga
Hexed: Original Themes By Anders Manga

Anders Manga hails from Reykjavík in Iceland and, wait, no I am
intentionally lying to you, he was born in America in 1973 and creates a
synth-driven gothic/semi-psychedelic stew for your waiting music bowls. He
is best known for his “darkwave” music, which is how he chooses to label
his concoctions. He named his own genre, which I think is pretty cool and
something that I would do myself if I chose to label what I do musically,
although I really do not fit into one single genre and, since I tire of
endless genre-titling, choose not to label myself or my music as anything.
I am just me and my music is just what I play. Call it what you like.
However, I went on for quite a few words too long on that tangent, and
this review is about Anders Manga, not me.

I must say that I am not particularly a fan of goth or instrumentals, and
here we find both. However, in my opinion, a good reviewer should do
things with an open mind and try not to be influenced by his or her own
personal musical tastes. That way the reader gets an unbiased review. It
is not always easy, but I do my best, and whatever I describe should
resemble what you will hear, therefore if anything sounds intriguing then
you should receive what I placed before you.

Now that that is out of the way for now and for ever, let us get to the
reason we are here – Anders Manga’s latest release, entitled Hexed. I said
goth and I meant goth. Keep that in mind. First up is the album-titled
tune Hexed. Here we have four minutes and fourteen seconds of well
produced instrumental music that is highly reminiscent of Mike Oldfield’s
album Tubular Bells. If you have never heard of that album just think of
the music in the opening of William Friedkin’s film The Exorcist, released
in 1973. That album gained considerable airplay and recognition due to the
success of the film and Oldfield has made a career of reinterpreting that
album but then, again, this review is about Anders Manga and not Mike
Oldfield this time. Yes, I go off on tangents once in a while, but music,
all of it, is all related in some way and I see my tangents as relevant.
There are only seven notes and so many chords, and everybody starts with a
musical tabla rasa. If you do not like the references and occasional
tangents then what else can I say? I just said it. My job here is not only
to give my opinion but also to attempt to give the reader an idea of what
to expect. Hence the references. So like I told you, think Tubular Bells
and you are in the zone of the first track Hexed. Enough said about that,
also again for now and for ever. The song Hexed itself is fairly
repetetive, with somewhat of a shift about halfway through. I am not a fan
of repetitive music but I am just one man… And there is more music to
come of course.

Make the jump to the album’s closing tune with me, entitled Fin. As in
“the end.” I like this one better than Hexed, the first track. The chord
changes, while not ground breaking, are well chosen. Again it is
repetetive, but it is shorter than Hexed and the chords are nice so it
works for me. I like it.

We will hit the middle now. March to the Altar is track number six. It
opens with an ominous series of low notes, which soon have short bursts of
static played over them then moves on to a swirly, phaser-like sound with
occasional bells and static. After about a minute and a half it starts to
become more tuneful, and by the two minute mark everything has come
together as a song before the beginning of the end at around the 2:50
mark. There is nothing here to turn away from, on the other hand there is
nothing to attract either. For me. As mentioned, I am not heavily into
instrumental music, but overall it is a nice, yet dark, song. Just nothing
new to me.

Let us try track number nine, entitled Seer Lays a Hex. Anders begins with
the bell-like sounds again but it is quickly recognizable of a cohesive
song. In a way it is upbeat, yet dark at the same time. The upbeat parts
remind me of Disney, what can I say, they do; yet the song itself is
underpinned by ominous dark bass sounds. It is a fairly enjoyable song and
it grew on me. I like this one too.

Track number three, Bloody Revenge, again starts with high synth sounds
and also again is supported by the ominous bass. Right around forty eight
seconds or so drums come on strong and the song starts to rock. It is
enjoyable overall – my only problem with it is the problem that I have
with the entire album; as a musician and synthesizer player myself it
seems repetive and dare I say it, easy to write and play. But I admit that
it is hard for me to look at it from the point of a non-musician who does
not play an instrument. Which is probably the audience for most any music.
So do not take that particular criticism to heart; listen to the record
and decide for yourself. For the style it is a good record and if you like
goth, synth, instrumentals and an interplay of light and shade (yes, that
is a Led Zeppelin reference) then this is worth seeking out. I am only
your road map; where you go is up to you.




Jeff Strichart
Author: Jeff Strichart View all posts by
Jeff Strichart has been a frustrated musician for almost forty years. He is also a producer and has mixed and/or mastered many local Colorado bands. Aside from his music and production he enjoys his dogs, motorcycles, collecting vintage BMX bicycles, reading and his new found love of sound design using hardware synthesizers and has licensed material to the BBC for use in their television programs.

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