Words By Justin Picard (J-man)
The Manhattan Project, one of the northeast’s newest powerhouses, came on to the scene in 2010 and is further making a name for itself with the release of Atomic Bomb Party vol. 3! The album’s opening track, “Endless Nights,” builds from the start into an all out barrage of sonic output layered with tasteful precision. Deep tonal exploration collides with danceable grooves for a menacing yet satisfying start to the party. Police sirens scream out in the background as Shawn Drogan’s drums continue to build the track for one last explosion of sound. The synth-heavy “Full Bounce” eases its way in with Charlie Lindner at the helm before the beats hit. Enter a layer of dub bass that tactfully wobbles in the background and the track is in full swing with a plethora of hihat chops. The breakdown is soothing and reflects a great contrast and range in the duo’s highs and lows. Beautiful vocals come and go taking the mind with them and returning it to the track just in time for the beat. “Bitcrusher” welcomes powerful vocals, a couple of sizable builds and captivating melodies for a sonic ride that may be the album’s shortest track in length, but also may be its strongest in regards to fan appeal.
What starts out as light percussion and spacey synth builds oh so slowly with a focus on effects, before the bass enters the picture and the listeners fins themselves in the full swing of “Hiroshima.” The combination of middle eastern and Asian influences is evident and reflects a well-round arsenal. The EP concludes with “Aftermath,” a piece that begins with an almost apocalyptic buzz, chirping birds and the eventual warning of an “emergency.” Heavy bass drops and the composition takes off with soaring highs, clashing with deep lows in the albums’ ultimate build and release. The Manhattan Project’s overall output far exceeds that of a typical duo, though nothing about this duo or their music is typical. They are the past in their utilization of worldly influences. They are the present in their tasteful innovation. Atomic Bomb Party vol. 3 offers listeners a fresh perspective on a constantly developing music.
J-man’s Conversation With Shawn Drogan(Drums):
J-man: What are your thoughts on the new album?
Shawn: We’re really excited about this one for a couple reasons; It’s very different than the previous two EP’s. Not only are the BPM’s of each song slower than the last, we explore different rhythms and feels on this one. There’s still a lot of variety like the last and it still sounds like us, but I think people will hear some evolution in the music. Another reason, is that this was an important one to get right and I think we did it! It’s been two years since we’ve released a studio album and we felt like we had to take it up a level this time around. A lot of the music came together fairly quickly in the weeks going into the studio. We only had a certain amount of time to write songs we felt good about and I feel we ended up producing some of our best stuff to date.
J-man: What is your thought of the direction of “mainstream” electronic music and where do you see TMP in relation to a lot of the mainstream music?
Shawn: I think music in general is in a great place! Popular music is popular for a reason. Our music definitely hits on certain levels of mainstream, but also offers something more for people that want something deeper.
J-man: Can you talk about why it is you gentleman opt out of utilizing laptops in your live performances?
Shawn: We both come from a very instrumental background and wanted to utilize that element mainly when we started, but take it somewhere new. We never really planned it out that way, but as we started to develop our sound, we didn’t feel a need for laptops to perform. Now I guess it kind of sets us apart in a way.
J-man: What does TMP have coming up this spring/summer that you guys are most exited about?
Shawn: We’ll be hitting a lot of new cities in the next few months which is always fun, and we’ll be announcing some more festivals very soon.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/87014942″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]