New Orleans Music

Manic Focus Drops New Album ‘Minds Rising’ with Fresh Electro Soul Sound [Review]

Manic Focus’ new album Minds Rising is here! And it was well worth the three-year wait.

Manic Focus has done it again with a spectacular album from start to finish, so good that you’ll want to listen to it all the way through 4 or 5 times. While listening to the album, I actually realized that many tracks were new releases Manic dropped while touring the past few months across the United States; so if you were able to catch him on tour, it is more than likely that you heard a few of these prior to the album release.

Overall, he has stayed true to his original sound; following the same hip-hop lyricism with funky beats and that electro-soul sound. His production has definitely improved, resulting in each track being extremely collaborative with many layers. It is astounding when the listener can tell how much work was put into each song.

Manic Focus has pulled out all the stops for this album and included all of the homies in his tracks: such as Break Science member Borahm Lee to Pretty Lights turntablist Chris Karns. The talent on this album is unbelievable and will be hard to top for following album releases for the year.

Below is a breakdown of each individual track on the album… all of them so incredible that a complete review of each one was necessary!

Drop In ft. Marvel Years and Chris Karns

Kicking off the album is “Drop In” featuring funky Marvel Years and infamous turntablist Chris Karns. The funky electro-soul track is perfect for setting the mood for the rest of the album, and will undoubtedly make you want to get up and dance.

Putting All Of My People On ft. ProbCause

“Putting All Of My People On” was the second single release Manic dropped when creating hype for the album. The track, featuring ProbCause combines funky beats and trappy horns… something that not many producers attempt to do, let alone successfully do… unless you are Manic Focus.

Showcasing a whole new era of Manic, “Putting All Of My People On” is the perfect combination of electronic production and rap lyricism. With a quick and effortless flow, Probcause’s vocals help to make this track a party playlist must.

Joy in the Noise ft. Psalm One

Underground Chicago rapper Psalm One brings an acute rap skill-set to “Joy in the Noise.” The piano leading the song all the way through is a perfect melody overlaid on top of an electronic beat. As the song builds, electronic beats begins to take over the track leading to a conclusive end.

Stochastic Resonance ft. Statik

I tried to not be biased while listening to the album, but this song is hands down my favorite. The track features Statik, a super talented Chicago-based artist that opened for a handful of shows during Manic’s tour. If you were lucky enough to catch him, you know exactly what I am talking about!

The mellow intro to “Stochastic Resonance” draws you in and puts you in a trance. The Manic/Statik collab showcases their individual sounds: Statik’s guitar riffs/electronic production and Manic’s beats, to create a song so savory… you want more.

Snap Like This ft. Artifakts and Eric Jesus Coomes

When I was looking at the features for this track (Artifakts and Eric Jesus Coomes), I was intrigued by this combination. The shift from “Stochastic Resonance” to “Snap Like This” is a huge collaborative transition; each instrument and producer/composer intricate and perfect.

Pushing ft. Psymbionic

For those unfamiliar with Psymbionic, he is known for his glitch hop and future bass sound: a match made in heaven when combined with Manic Focus’ hip-hop beats.

The unlikely combination somehow managed to mesh together 2 unlikely genres to produce something fantastic.

Rage Fits Perfect ft. The MFin’ Band

One word: violin. “Rage Fits Perfect” is one of the many tracks I discussed earlier that contained a massive amount of layers; all of the instruments: the violin, the guitar, the horns, everything.

There is so much that went into the production of this song, featuring the MFin’ Band, and it completely works.

This new side of Manic featuring the band is next level.

Habit ft. Russ Liquid & The RapperChicks

The final single release Manic Focus released prior to the album dropping… “Habit” is infectious with a three-piece horn section featuring Russ Liquid and fresh rap vocals – plus an enchanting chorus – featuring The RapperChicks.

The entire track flows effortlessly together with each component. This track brings the best of both hip-hop and livetronica worlds, blending together for a result that is both jazzy and fun.

Stronger ft. Late Night Radio, Jennifer Hartswick, and Adam Deitch

“Stronger,” featuring Late Night Radio, Jennifer Harswick, and Adam Deitch, was the first single release to prepare for “Minds Rising.”  This track is the perfect combination of funky instrumentals and powerful vocals. There has been nothing but praise so far for the super groovy track.

These various artists and their talents mesh perfectly when combined to create a blend of fresh funk.

Timeless ft. Carlile

Carlile, folk rock singer, is featured in this track with captivating, timeless if you will, vocals. “Timeless” is one of the more eccentric tracks of the album with a unique sound and Carlile’s distinct vocals.

Sowing My Zone ft. Ryan Viser

As the album starts to come to a close, “Sowing My Zone,” brings some of that electro-soul back to a mellow close. Ryan Viser‘s stellar trumpet skills help to illustrate the melody. The performance is expressive of both producer’s skills.

Your X Now ft. Exmag and Borahm Lee

“Minds Rising” concludes with with “Your X Now” featuring downtempo soul and funk band Exmag and Break Science/Pretty Lights keyboardist Borahm Lee. This track is the perfect end to an album featuring great production all-around.

From start to finish, this is an album that has been well put together and thought through. A truly collaborative effort, it must be recognized how much hard work has put into Minds Rising including all of the different producers, artists, instrumentalists, vocalists, the album is a conglomerate of talented artists.

Give the entire album a listen below.

Stream the album here.

See Manic Focus + LIVE Band perform ‘minds rising’ featuring Russ Liquid with Marvel Years, Daily Bread, Dino Brawl + SPECIAL GUESTS at Republic NOLA on Thursday, April 27, 2017. 

Get Tickets Here



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