The North Shore

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The first U.S. release from Danish artist Manual (Jonas Munk) is a soothing work of ambience that combines the sounds of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial origins. A perfect fit for NPR's Hearts of Space, The North Shore abandons Manual's guitars and percussion, focusing on minimal tones with subtle changes. The two tracks with Jess Kahr (who works with Munk in the post-rock project Limp) do little to differentiate themselves from the rest, instead merely adding a few quiet textures. "Always Alone" implies the sound of a satellite lost in orbit and sending out a signal, before gentle waves flow at the end. "1986," with chimes in the foreground, has a trance-like power when combined with soft tones that linger in the background. "Burn," a ten-minute journey of dark, icy synths, wanders and wanes while muted crickets become nicely comforting. Finishing with the suitably titled "It's Night on Planet Earth...and We Are Alive," Manual establishes a wondrous recording that is ideal with headphones at dawn.

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