Sep 2011 26

Meat Beat Manifesto - Totally Together EPMeat Beat Manifesto
Category: IDM
Album: Totally Together EP
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Jack Dangers unloads a mediocre EP to create the bridge between 2008’s pummeling social commentary, Autoimmune, and his hyper-ambient Answers Come in Dreams.


The San Francisco based artist Jack Dangers, better known as Meat Beat Manifesto, has been manipulating and splicing electronic and synth noise for the better part of 20 years now. While his live venture is a four piece band inserted into the center of a multimedia affair, the recorded product that he offers has always asked the listener to close their eyes and develop the visuals for themselves. On Totally Together, a four track EP that he released to whet the appetites of his audience for his next upcoming full-length, Dangers creates a dub-laced synthetic journey that is slightly mesmerizing, but also comes across as a confused presentation.

Opening the disc is “4our,” a synthetic tribal track with a strong dub subtext, with some overtly futuristic bleeps speckled spastically throughout. There is an ambient wash that swoons and surges throughout, creating an unsettling and almost spooky feel, all the way up to the end, where the track crumbles in to an intentionally industrialized display complete with a caustic noise approach that completes the audio nightmare. “Moving Body” has a minimal percussive opening that doesn’t take too long to evolve. More of the same dub approach that the first track offered is present, but this time there is an acoustic drum accompaniment that hints at the hip-hop influences that Meat Beat Manifesto has always teased their listeners with throughout the years. The synthesized interplay between various sounds are emotive, lean into a rock based feel while still maintaining that core Meat Beat Manifesto sound. The track doesn’t really take the listener anywhere and it avoids any sudden jerky movements that would displace the listener from the audio cave that they are placed in. One of the more interesting aspects of the disc is the production quality. The EP begs to be listened to on a pair of headphones, since each track is developed in wide, spatial plains with huge separations between the synthetic sounds and percussive interplay. This is especially evident on the title track, a track that seems to want the creator to believe that digital sanity has been achieved, but as the song evolves, the chaotic nature of its revelations prove that nothing could be further from the truth. There is a sense of order within the madness, almost as if Dangers is slowly losing his mind but is actually okay with that disturbing fact. No sense of serenity is achieved by the time the track completes, but the sound structures are interesting enough to call it the best track on the disc. The EP closes out with “TRS2,” a more playful track that offers a dance-driven beat that is placated with calculated synth samples and electronic noises. While it may not find its way easily in to a club DJ’s set list, it does make for a head-bobbing, toe-tapping excursion that the listener will find as a pleasant closer to the disc.

While the EP is short and to the point, it does well enough to assist listeners in creating expectations for Meat Beat Manifesto’s latest release, the ambient audio journey that is Answers Come in Dreams. And while it is evident that these four songs had no place on that disc, one has to ask what the real point was of pushing these tracks out to the audience, even at all. They certainly are decent as standalone tracks on their own, but they have an overall feeling of being unfinished, don’t really take the listener on any groundbreaking journey, and have a sense of disoriented productivity. This is definitely not Meat Beat Manifesto’s best work.

Track list:

  1. 4our
  2. Moving Body
  3. Totally Together
  4. TRS2

Meat Beat Manifesto Website
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Purchase at:
Amazon MP3


Joseph Graham (ChromeSkinJesus)

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