TFword Review: IMANU’s Debut Album – ‘Unfold’

IMANU who is known to be one of the most innovative producers in drum & bass delivered his stunning debut album titled ‘Unfold’ on Zeds Dead’s label, Deadbeats.

Jonathan Kievit, aka IMANU, will go down in bass music history as one of the finest trendsetters. In just under three years since the inception of his IMANU alias, he has changed the way drum & bass is perceived by listeners and artists alike. The French born-Dutch producer’s ability to blend his love for emotional storytelling with distinctive and technical brutalist rhythms makes him one of the most exciting acts on the scene.

IMANU was only 16 when he made his official debut as Signal, where he explored the more ragged and industrial styles of drum & bass. It wasn’t long until Dutch legends Noisia signed his track ‘Tripwire‘ to their Invisible Recordings imprint, and when Noisia signs an artist at the age of 16, you pay attention. Since then, IMANU went on a relentless run of releases delivering music on labels like Bad Taste, Dispatch, Cyberfunk, Neodigital and Critical Music.

2019 is when he decided to land himself in a territory devoid of genre boundaries, rigid tempo expectations, and DJ-friendly format formalities, and the result was the birth of IMANU. Powerful, emotional, intricate and technically supreme is how the producer has approached his sonic journey following the switch of his alias – an expedition that has already made him one of the biggest names in bass music at the age of 22.

After futuristic and genre-defying releases on Deadbeats, UKF, Critical Music, and VISION Recordings, IMANU has returned to Zeds Dead’s Deadbeats imprint; a label where he has been a regular member for his debut album ‘Unfold’. Like the name, it indeed has unfolded IMANU’s production prowess that has seen the entirety of the bass music community sing praises of the release.

This 15-track masterpiece begins with ‘It’s Our Destiny’ featuring Australian singer Kučka’s soothing vocals. Watery melodies with trap-leaning beat patterns create a wonder cacophony to mark the perfect start to this long release. ‘Empress’ was the third single released early this year as part of the album. It’s a tune where IMANU takes us on an acoustic plain that is glitchy, marauding, and one that he will continue to champion for the years to come.

Next up is IMANU’s measured and powerful collaboration with Dutch future-bass artist DROELOE, where they bring their styles together to create an off-kilter paradise. The Caracal Project and Maria-Lea team up with IMANU for the next one on ‘Syrah’ for a fierce, distorted, and wobbly yet rhythmically pleasing number. ‘Temper’ and ‘Pillow Talk’ see the bass music maestro take the floaty route with their watery textures and gentle house tones. LaMeduza’s ethereal vocal style compliments IMANU’s orchestral approach superbly on ‘Es Tu Réel?’ while ‘Can’t Find The Words’ takes the hyper-pop leftfield route with its powerful build-up and drop.

‘Lonely Mess’ is an example of why we can’t pigeonhole a certain style for IMANU because he will always keep surprising us. ‘Huil’ is a tune born when two incredibly creative forces work together on a song. Synth-heavy, progressive and industrial, this tune is a proper introspective club belter. At this point, it is hard to guess what’s in IMANU’s playbook; there’s nothing the man can’t do. Featuring dark and percussive drum patterns and bringing minimal electronics to brilliant effect, ‘Haunt My Mind’ is a warm and melancholic chaos that is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.

Haunting and climaxing electronica with fidgety distortion is how IMANU has approached ‘Origami’ while ‘Somehow We Lost It All’ adds another UK Underground leaning on the album. Finally, ‘1000 Year Reign’ closes the curtain on ‘Unfold’ where IMANU goes all guns blazing to create a number with compelling harmonies and signs off a masterful debut album featuring his cacophonous and glitched-out music in style.

Buy you copy of this incredible album – HERE

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