Reduction Plan is the home recording project for Daniel Manning. His recent release ironically named Paradise feels so dismal and full of despair it makes the music from artists like Elliott Smith and Joy Division seems like joyful pop songs. Suffice it to say this music won't appeal to everyone. It’s niche, really niche. You have to really appreciate dark, dismal music in order to enjoy Paradise.
Paradise is a DIY effort and even for a lo-fi effort there are still a number of things to be desired. The biggest issue that I had hard time getting past was the vocals because they were so low in the mix and sounded thin. Despite the sparse instrumentation I had to look at the lyrics he had on Bandcamp.
There is obviously absolutely nothing wrong with making dark music. In fact some of my favorite albums are extremely dark but even those have some levity. For instance Closer by Joy Division by all means is a dark record but that has a song like “Isolation” which will at least makes you break out a dance while loathing in the existential terror of a song like “The Eternal.” Paradise has no cracks of light in the dark, which doesn’t give you the slightest sense that anything is worth living for. Take for instance the waves of piercing dissonant white noise on “You Can (Not) Advance” or the overwhelming sense of apprehension you feel on “Empty Anger.”
“Hold On” may take the cake for the darkest song on the album. It’s dark to a point where it feels comical. The song revolves around ominous pads, digital distortion and Manning repeating the lyrics “I will hold, I can't hold on I won't hold on.” Manning in all honestly sounds like he is in hospital bed and uttering his last words before he passes away. It’s not exactly a song you are going to want to play to get the mood festive.
“Silence” slowly moves like molasses over its six-plus-minutes. There's no crescendo and no dynamics. Manning sings, “and in those depths i might find silence at last let your cool dark hands take me away i don't want to be here anymore without you.”
The lyrics on “An Act of Self Preservation” could be interpreted as the yearning cry for help from a person who is about to commit suicide. He sings, “don't try and run i will not hide my mind is open but my body's tired i am tired of myself if i could oh god i would.”
Manning mentions that he was influenced by bands like Dirty Beaches, Swans, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins and Merchandise. Those all are great bands and if you look at their albums and songs there is movement, dynamics and if not always hope they at least embrace and persevere amongst the dark side where you can feel the beauty. For better or worse the songs on Paradise feel like they have succumbed to the pressure of living in the light and drowned in a pit of despair that is so deep it feels impossible to get out of.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook