Sandro Manzon is a multi-award-winning Canadian composer/songwriter specializing in music for film, dance and the concert stage. His music has been screened at numerous film and music festivals throughout Europe, Asia and North America. His latest four-song EP entitled Mr. Nothing is a stunning record, where Manzon visits themes of classic samba, ‘60s Italiana, experimental chamber music, avant-jazz and unites all genres in such an enchanting manner. The result is an exceptional and pristine sonic intimacy as the EP glides elegantly from track to track.
The EP opens with “Humdrum." What's striking on this song is the influence in percussion and saxophone from that of the art-rock band Talk Talk with its glacial tempos, an emphasis on ambiance and minimalism. A hauntingly beautiful opening song that unlocks the gates of Manzon's musicality. The second track "I'm Willing" has an authentic Latin jazz and Bossa nova taste to it, an excellent speed up from the opening track. Colin Lloyd’s trombone is a personal highlight for me; his solo works perfectly with Sandro Manzon's soft and delicate vocals and the rich, full orchestra.
This is followed by the song “Lately." The modular synthesizers and Weren Van Den Bossche’s saxophone really give this track a soulfully grandiose atmosphere. It is another example of Manzon's impressive ability to orchestrate a plethora of arrangements. "The Map" has more of an experimental chamber and lounge rock vibe to it, showcasing Manzon's majestic capability to flitter between genres with seeming ease.
The idiom "End on a high note" applies for this EP on the closing track "The Gate," a tender and endearing tune, which you never want to end. The beautiful electric guitar melody mixed with the hypnotic bird's chorus subtly in the background produces a delicious sound. Manzon also gives his most assertive and powerful vocal display on the song. This is by far the most poppy song on the EP, and also Manzon at his best.
With Mr. Nothing, Manzon has asserted his unique ability to mix complex genres in such an impressively effortlessly manner. His soothing compositions are the perfect background music to feel the ambiance, a true mood setter and the ultimate relaxation supplement. The only minor critique is the lack of distinguished lyrics, but this might be done purposefully to allow the hauntingly atmospheric instrumentation to set the mood.
With his softly, soulful, yet laid-back vocals, emotive melodies, and spaced arrangements, Sandro Manzon teases the audience in, rather than going to them. And it works wondrously; as you enter his world, you realize it is so worth giving yourself to his music.
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