The music of Efrim Menuck may be criticized for being simplistic or even naive. Whether delivered in stirring apocalyptic terms in Godspeed You! Black Emperor or channeled through the mournful communal excursions of A Silver Mt Zion, Menuck’s musical vision is a stubbornly straightforward one, an outpouring of emotional force regardless of medium or form. As a self-confessed fan, I’m not embarrassed to admit my willing subjection to this treatment (or might you say manipulation?), or even how much this unadulterated experientialism appeals to me.
But Menuck’s recent solo effort, Efrim Manuel Menuck Plays “High Gospel”, explores a new dimension to the Montreal-based musician and studio engineer’s work. While capable of delivering crushing intensity and overwhelming sorrow like any GY!BE or ASMZ record, High Gospel is decidedly more crafted and varied, and less inhibited to experiment or even detour. In the opening track, for instance, soul-stirring drone is weaved intricately with familiar choral manifestoes, only to be interjected by a dizzying array of electronic signals. Emotions still ride high, reaching even new heights at some points, only this time they seem less raw and perhaps more believable. – Dan.
Efrim Manuel Menuck Plays “High Gospel” is out now on Constellation.