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Review: Manitoba's Up in Flames

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Issue: 3 Section: Arts Topics: music

July 11, 2003

Review: Manitoba's Up in Flames

by Matt Brennan

Manitoba Up in Flames Leaf Records Spring 2003 www.manitoba.fm

Dan Snaith is a stinking thief, of that I'm sure. His 'Manitoba' alias might throw a few off his track, since he actually hails from Ontario, though I'm sure none of his cronies in London, UK, will ever notice. He lives there nowadays, and claims to be working on a PhD in pure mathematics. But don't let that fool you.

Just like teenagers dumb enough to videotape themselves committing acts of vandalism, Manitoba recorded an album to document his misdemeanours. Listening to it, I was sure that he had broken into my old primary school and positively raided the music room. Egg shakers, a glockenspiel, finger cymbals, and a pile of recorders that were once used to play 'Hot Cross Buns' -- you'll find them all on Up in Flames.

Does this man have no shame? At one point, it sounds like he followed unsuspecting children and recorded them giggling. Not to mention the countless copyright laws he's broken by poaching everything from drum breakbeats to saxophone solos, strings and toy music boxes. Sure, he may have programmed some original rhythmic spurts and sputters and sung a few silly choruses overtop the rest of his microsampled mayhem, but does that mean we should all turn a blind eye?

Yup. Up In Flames is one of the most eccentric, creative and playful sample-based albums I've heard, and frankly, I can't wait to hear what he'll steal next.

Matt Brennan is finishing a master's degree on music and the media at Stirling University, UK.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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