Like many artist-run labels, ManMakeMusic ran the risk of becoming a sidenote to the career of co-owner, producer and DJ George FitzGerald. It's clocked in three solid 12"s from up and comers Jack Dixon, Leon Vynehall and Trikk so clearly the man's got a knack for A&R. But these singles, as good as they were, couldn't help but be outshined by his self-produced inaugural effort, Fernweh/Hearts.
But change is in the air for their 5th release. Simply title MMAKEU01, information is about as scant and mysterious as the interlocked grooves within; there's a review up on Portuguese FACT (don't bother with Google translate, I already tried) and a few words on the offical site.
What you get for your buck is four cuts of blearly-eyed dancefloor approximations. Lead track Eah comes somewhere between recent moves by Cupp Cave and Gerry Read. Gone is the crisp, dancefloor-ready precision we've come to expect from Mr. FitzGerald, replaced instead by smudged synths, woozy ambiance and pitched vocals floating in and out of the mix without the build and drop dynamics required to set the dancefloor alight.
Things ease up ever more when Evil Spirits trades in vocal hooks for treated piano lines that conjure up ghosts of James Blake's pre-album days. The flipside touches on sultry lo-fi RnB (Haunted) and the blunted drum programming of the best LA beatsmiths (Heaven). It's all over in a flash, the only constant throughout, aside from the quality, is the skewed vision these touchstones are filtered through.
Limited to a 10" run, it may be that ManMakeMusic won't be pursuing this sonic territory any more. Wherever they end up going, they've struck gold on their 5th release and seem well on their way to becoming a force in their own right.
[MMAKEU01] is due for release on Monday 15th October. Pre-order it now from Surus