It’s was one of those questions that had taken on an almost Monty Python-esque level of absurdity; ‘when’s Michael Manring‘s album coming out?’ – for the last 18 months or so, I’ve been asked this a few times a week, sometimes a few times a day! I started off telling people whatever spurious deadline Michael had told me that week – ‘well, we just need to blah blah blah and it’ll be ready in about three weeks’ etc. etc. It got more and more laughable as Michael missed more deadlines than end-times loonies predicting the end of the world.
So I gave up answering, other than to say ‘your guess is as good as mine, why not email him?’. Hopefully his inbox wasn’t flooded with requests that he was no better placed to answer that I was…
Anyway, his launch gig was last week, and my copy of the CD, ‘Soliloquy’, arrived this morning. My 10 o’clock lesson was cancelled due to illness, which has given me time for a first listen.
OK, these are first impressions, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say when I’ve heard it 20 times (some time tomorrow afternoon, I suspect!), but this really is the album that Michael’s been needing to make for a long time, the one that all of us have been waiting for.
It’s all solo, no overdubs, bass guitar pieces. He uses a whole range of basses, and an even wider range of techniques and sounds, but it’s all live all him (we like the sound of that – actually that reminds me of Michael mention at a gig once that he was going to release a live version of Selene, to which I answered, ‘we like live’, and he came back ‘you like live!’ – this was not long after And Nothing But The Bass had come out)
Anyway, all the live faves are here – Selene, Helios, Greetings Earthlings, Excuse Me, Mr Manring, Makes Perfect Sense To Me etc. and a load of other previously unheard magic.
I’m sure Michael will be unhappy with it in some way – he’s got that kind of analytical approach to these things where there’s an ideal in his head that he’s constantly chasing, refining and I imagine never quite gets to. It’s what makes his gigs so exhilerating. The rest of us will hear this as his best album to date, by quite some margin, and be inspired and scared by what’s possible on solo bass.
It also comes with a beautifully produced 20-odd page book in PDF format (if you work in an office with a colour laser printer, you’re really in luck!) with tonnes of great background info.
I’ve got some practice to do – it’s inspiring ideas for me already.
It will, I’m sure be available in my webshop soon (though, as with most things Manring-esque, there’s no knowing when!), but for now, you can order it from Michael direct – best to email him via his website, if the details still aren’t there (they weren’t a few days ago – how does this guy make a living?????)by