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Manslaughter 777 is the new collaboration of drummer/percussionist Lee Buford (The Body) and drummer Zac Jones (Braveyoung/MSC). Debut album World Vision Perfect Harmony follows a decade of collaborations starting with The Body and Braveyoung’s Nothing Passes. For their debut as a duo, Buford and Jones blend bracing and imaginative takes on rhythmic-centric forms from dub, breakbeats, hip hop and beyond for a phantasmagoria of bristling drumscapes.
Manslaughter 777 pulls together a vast array of disparate percussive traditions and patterns into a veil of dark, propulsive energy. Recorded and mixed by Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, the album’s mélange of live and sampled beats fizzle, splat and rupture with an edge. While there are sounds that could be at home on a record by The Body, Manslaughter 777 inhabits much more open spaces. The duo’s music is based primarily on drums and eclectic samples, shifting melodic ideas to the overtones and resonances of their respective percussive thuds or clicks. Buford and Jones incorporate hybridizations of live, sampled, and electronic percussion obscuring their boundaries while highlighting their specific tonal and timbral qualities. The repetitive amen break of “ARC” creates a hypnotic stasis before being broken wide open by bending and grizzly distorted hits. “Gainax” and “Mag Tech” both utilize a rolling tom pattern as a tonal drone that interplays with pitched bass drums to startlingly contrasting effects. Elysian vocal snippets and laidback tempos spin pieces like “I Can Not Tell You How I Feel” and “Do You Know Who Loves You” into more contemplative and ecstatic atmospheres. An alchemical balance of detailed and dynamic production guides each element to the fore in steady waves of relentless momentum.
Taken as a whole, World Vision Perfect Harmony is a cornucopia of rhythmic texture. Manslaughter 777 channels a deluge of kineticism into a web of syncopated grooves that are equally entrancing and provocative. Audacious sound architects, Buford and Jones built an album that passionately revels in the world of rhythm. Manslaughter 777’s constructs glide as gracefully as they rumble. Together, they are a monument to the power of percussion.