Over the past decade, Irish producer and DJ Mano Le Tough has become a force in electronic music, touring constantly with his blend of deep, meditative and mellow dance music that fuses indie dance and electronics. He released his last album Moments in 2015, which sent him on years on furious touring around the world. But like everyone else, the pandemic forced him back to his home in Zurich with his family where life came to a halt. In this almost silence, his new album At The Moment was created.
The new LP balances the struggles of the present with a hopeful optimism that things will get better at some point. That balance can feel a bit off at times, but there are moments of strange, darkness towards the end like on “So Many So Silent,” but then it gets uplifted with “Short Cuts.”
One thing this album does is bounce around quickly between genres and sound, which can be good, but also it can be difficult to follow. That sonic diversity was part of the goal for Mano Le Tough. He wanted to just make music that wasn’t necessarily for any certain scene or club – it was just to put something together he enjoyed.
“I was more relaxed about the different styles on this record and less conscious of having to fit into a certain scene," Mano says. "I’ve tried to do that before, and it kills my creativity. This record was about embracing creativity, not being restricted by tempo or song length or how it would function in certain environments."
He bounces between the funky “Pompeii” that sounds like it was taken from a 70’s film and “No Road Without A Turn” that sounds like driving down a dusty road in the desert, while the eventual album finale has a few of the hallmarks of a slowed, classic trance track. “Together” seems to be the hope that we will be together today with the euphoria of trance synths guiding us along.
Mano Le Tough attempts to capture the moment over the past 18 months with his new album of both horror and hope that things will get better. Having time to really dive into different musical ideas led to some interesting choices for the producer and an album that will take the listener into some places they may not have expected. It can be a bit uneven at times, but we will see how this plays out when he gets back to touring again. Pick up your copy here on DJ Koze’s Pampa Records.