Icebreaker International & Manual: Into Forever
Morr Music

With its inclusion of the sublime “Into Forever,” Morr Music's 2002 comp Blue Skied An' Clear offered listeners a foretaste of this stellar collaboration. Performed with a maturity far beyond his years, Jonas Munk's delicate guitar playing weaves its way sinuously amongst the gorgeous melodies before the track segues poignantly into a hymn-like coda. The dreamy ballad appears once again—not unwelcomingly—on this full-length effort and serves as a natural complement to the seven other pieces. Munk, well known to Morr aficionados for his Manual and Limp recordings, joins forces with New Yorker Alexander Perls of Icebreaker International on this premiere outing of the Morr sub-label Sound of a Handshake, its raison d'être a showcase for one-off collaborations between Morr fixtures and other artists.

In keeping with the Icebreaker International tradition of deploying ambitious conceptualizing to underpin aural works (such as trailing a fictitious freight shipment across the globe for Trein Maersk as a vehicle for investigating the economics of international trade), Into Forever's spacey imagery and song titles have a literal connection. Apparently, Antares, a deep-space probe fitted with audio projectors, will travel in 2011 to the nebula NGC 10007 (an area 17,000 times the diameter of our Solar System) located five light years from earth, where it will broadcast this recording in an infinite loop, making Into Forever “the world's first eternal piece of music.”

Regardless of the conceptual underpinning, the music itself is cohesive and accomplished. The eight tracks evolve in a suite-like manner, each one flowing seamlessly into the next. Munk's guitar prowess and penchant for engaging melodies remain intact, but Perls deepens the sound, giving it a breadth and scope that make for extremely satisfying results. Munk's signature chiming guitars and electronic percussive accents are here as before, but now enveloped and extended by Perls' towering ambient swirls. Certain tracks do seem to evidence a greater kinship with one of the two artists. “The Inner Rings” and “The Outer Rings,” for example, evoke a predominantly Icebreaker character in their gradual, measured development, their echoing waves surging upon one another. “A Thousand Years” and “‘Beacons,” on the other hand, bring Munk's ringing guitars and electronic treatments to the forefront. In general, the focal point remains guitar throughout with washes of synths and electronics providing ambient counterpoint. Put simply, Into Forever is meticulously crafted guitar-based electronica.

October 2003