(Indieville) None is the first release from Nebraska's Man's Last Great Invention, a curious drone band whose music reminds me of Cul De Sac's more experimental offerings. Issued by Public Eyesore sub-project Eh?, this is slow-building, bass-heavy stuff that sounds almost cinematic in nature. Man's Last Great Invention makes heavy use of echoing chanted vocals, which lends the disc an Eastern feel, as well as a distinct melodic tone. The majority of the album utilizes an ambient formula that is somewhat reminiscent of Biosphere material; sparse layers of sound come together to form miraculously organized compositions. The strangely hopeful first half of the album climaxes in a haze of distant chanting on the third track; this makes way for a much darker second half which could best be termed "unsettling." Particularly disturbing is the monstrous final track; it sounds like a swarm of ghosts trying to force their way out of a metal holding cell. Although very different in spirit from the rest of the album, what it lacks in droney sonority, it makes up for in disorienting unpredictability. - Matt Shimmer
(Chain DLK) It took me a while to review, but it was worth the wait, infact a good record is still a good record after a while..sometimes that's not the way it is, you're right, above all when coming down to genres like electronics which really linked to the sound…but this really far from electronics. Man's Last Great Invention share much more with psychedelia than many other bands using drones and feedbacks, do to the lo-fi nature of this recording and to the really good quality of the music they reminded me a lot of an underrated band from the not so recent K records catalogue, I'm talking about Yume Bitsu (..hey after having wrote their name I've discovered I've just one of their 4 releases, shame on me). The band was somehow Kranky oriented but more minimal, more punky and if you ask me these characteristics are quite similar to MLGI, in someway the fact they're on this subsidiary label of Public Eyesore can confirm my opinion, but I repeat: the comparison to such a good band as Yume Bitsu is much than deserved. The package in someway follows the recording and is quite minimal but equally as good and after drone music had become in someway quite popular they've gained enough point to go and break your money-pig to give ‘em some money. Differently from other releases on Eh? Label, this one is not “anal” and hyper-cerebral but is much more accessible…maybe it will lead also some inveterate freaks into some new kinds of psychedelia. While the recording is rough but expressive the only possible remark is that concerning the division of this whole session in tracks, ok, they probably did it to help the listener have some rest during this trippy listening, but this' nothing but a long session and also well done, therefore there's no need to cut it…if the dear 2008-listener can't take the time to listen to a long session, well he or she can go fuck himself (freak power!...or “grind finale”! But I'm fed up with people complaining about long records). - Andrea Ferraris
(KZNU Zookeeper) Now this is what the echoplex/roland space echo was invented for: dreamy pulsing layered narcotic washes of tones and sounds, dreamy and dreamy, what Eno wakes up hearing upon having a wet dream. Lush, bountiful. For fans of all things Kranky, Bowery Electric, Eno, name it. For fans of laying in the sun of a window on a cold day, of popping a left over vicodin with a beer on a Sunday afternoon on an empty stomach. This buds for you.
1) superb! All the dreaminess of anything Eno ever did, the minimalism of a Low, or Hans Otte, this is supremely narcotic lush and beautiful, tones drones and echoed vocalizations
2) blended in from previous, similar
3) it just goes on, echoey spaciness, drugged out bliss
4) a slow interesting start to this but texturally it really strikes me, good harmonic drones, the shit
5) vocalizations enter the fray again, along with the general tone of the previous
6) very minimal vocalizations, chill, builds into clangy dissonance - Your Imaginary Friend
(Vital Weekly) Not much information on the release 'None' by Man's Last Great Invention, but going to their blog and myspace, one can easily learn something, such as the extensive line up of this band: Anderson Josef Reinkordt (guitar), Topher Ware (keys), Jillian Savage (cello), Jon McQuillan (bass), Elisabeth Reinkordt (film projection), Luke "ande will always spell wrong" Polipnik (rhythms), Jason Buckner (korg, singing bowl), Mathias Svalina (the howl of wolves), Michael Hernandez-Stern (birds and sounds), Predator (rarr), Tom Currie (bass, guitar), Chris, the magician, Lavaque (drums, soundscapes), Nick Kuhl (yes! more drums!), Teal Gardner (sing sing), Anders Peterson (percuss) and Jim Schroeder (guitar). This is free form freak folk at its best. Lengthy improvisations on guitar, the oh-ah (endless sustain required) vocals, and drone like sounds that bubble under the sea here. I read an online review of this saying we should not complain that this is too long (seventy minutes), but I think itsall a bit too much, perhaps simply for the fact that there is not enough difference between the various pieces. Maybe with all the right hallucinating substances that both playing and hearing this kind of music requires, its a long and flowing trip into the world of subconsciousness, but if I would give in to every musical invitation to take drugs, I'd be in rehab and then there is no Vital Weekly. So I skip the drugs (on a daily routine) and think with this: great music, but for the amount of variation (or the lack thereof), a bit too long (at least twenty or so minutes). - Frans de Waard
(Dead Angel) All hail the healing power of minimalist hiss 'n drone -- that's the theme behind the six tracks on this enigmatic release. The first track opens with nothing more than extremely audible tape hiss and goes on to expand into slow-moving drones (some instrumental, some vocal) swathed in endless acres of reverb that rise and fall like solar wind throughout the piece. The first piece segues into the second, where the density and volume of the drones grows steadily greater; that, in turn, segues into the third, where the drones aren't quite as intense and oblique vocal wailing eventually becomes a predominant part of the sound. The fourth track begins much as the first one did, but incorporates a moderately more aggressive rhythm to the drones; the drones also become darker and deeper (and at last, even more rhythmic) toward the end. The fifth piece is more of the same but also includes passages consisting of high-pitched, bell-like tones; the drones on the final track -- mostly heavily-reverbed vocal lines over subterranean rumbling -- are light and airy, and the first four or five minutes are the most ambient part of the entire disc, right up until the abrupt introduction of some unexpected drumming. The drones are the important part, though, and they are present throughout the track, providing a haunting counterpoint to the freestyle drumming that comes and goes. The overall effect is a meditative and subdued approach to free drone, and the disc is well worth investigating for the serious dronehead. - RKF
(Ampersand Etcetera) From Nebraska, Man's last great invention bring is None. (eh?43) - a departure from Eh/'s standard productions (as you would expect) with a striking cover which is a coloured copy onto transparent paper, stuck on to the white card with adhesive labels, and the information (title, band etc) appears to be typed (yes, there is a dent where the full stop is). Track titles are n, o, n, e, . and the untitled 6th track (why couldn't they think of a five letter title?). And musically, as hinted in the Beard review, this explores different territory again for the label. The Myspace page lists a cast of thousands (well 16) across strings, vocals, percussion, keyboard, film projection and more. The music could best be described as psychedelic minimalism - washes of sounds, echoed instruments and chanted vocals for an extended 70 minutes. The album opens in almost silence - just a tape hiss into which deep long synth lines and ringing guitar emerge. A sweet ethereal voice sweeps through (my thoughts are the Cocteaus, but slower, or Dead Can Dance) supported by bass, and sliding directly into the second track (o) continuing the pace and method, building into clouds of sometimes almost industrial sound. A held tone takes us into n, with looping percussive scrapes, and here singing takes the track into quite a dramatic, almost harsh, climax (with perhaps a little too much distortion) ending with a dying tone. e (the fourth track) opens quietly, redolent tapes hiss again building some subtle tones and then focusing on echoed bass and possibly guitar with some percussive effects and a flt-flt distortion. Towards the end a vocal line comes in, more keening and at times sounding almost like a Middle Eastern horn, but sliding into . (5) where some guitar adds to the mix with more vocals. The final track again emerges from the silence, strange distorted sad voices (sounds of coughing can be heard, suggesting live recording, other noises too - maybe a site recording - but the overall feel is liver than the others), percussion, water flowing and a darker sound. A full drum kit takes a solo, and involves us in a much more activity, with a bleaker mood - possibly the tone of the voices - and broader instrumentation (pumps of woodwind, scraping guitars, synth woobles). This is a broad, expansive album, creating sweeping atmospheres with the title 'tracks' while the untitled final third of the album presents a more forceful side of the ensemble. This sounds improvised, suiting the eh? remit, but with an ambient edge. Engrossing. - Jeremy Keens
(Kathodik) uriosa band psych/drone questi Man's Last Great Invention dal Nebraska. Drones, feedback e natura lo-fi sono i cardini intorno a cui ruota questo “None”. Verrebbe da liquidarli come epigono fuori tempo massimo Kranky oriented, ma il taglio simil punk con il quale vien affrontata la faccenda parla d'altro. Free form e free folk, in verità, solamente che al posto dell'acustica si preferisce perdersi dentro una marea di feedback ed echi, che rendono questa proposta molto dronematica (sul serio, in un universo parallelo, potrebbero funzionare benissimo come colonna sonora cinematografica).
La loro è un'ustione, che si snoda in un unico lungo movimento, diviso in sei fasi, dove voci fantasma si agitano quasi senza sosta, e gli strumenti annegano in una marea montante di effetti narcotizzanti. Ma, rispetto a Jackie-O Motherfucker e simili, in Man's Last Great c'è meno rispetto per le radici. Lo sballo giunge attraverso territori che sono (per suggestione) prossimi al Biosphere di “Substrata”. Via libera dunque ad uno sragionamento, puntellato ed azzannato, di volta in volta, da masse riverberanti minacciose, che non si può mai dire se si apriranno per accogliere od offendere. Freak veri i Man's e l'ultimo brano, per sole voci e batteria in libera uscita, ce lo conferma. Il respiro libero delle montagne, più o meno, potrebbe suonare cosi. Selvaggiamente meditativi. - Marco Carcasi