Cusp is a set of witchy lullabies from Estonian experimental recorder Man Rei, aka Kristin Reiman. Her work evokes the sleep that never quite arrives and dreams disturbed by waking worries, flowing between walls of hazy sounds and punches of morphed and pitch-shifted vocals. Finished in 2019, Cusp explores the postmodern fatigue from the overdrive of expected productivity. With most non-vocal sounds built out of urban field recordings, it offers a distinctive meditation on tiredness, exhaustion, and transition.
The first half of the album is more flowing and varied, opening with the slow ritual strains of "Witchcraft and Stitchery" followed by the even more cryptic "The Queer That Is The Night" and "Same Shirt." By contrast, on the second half tracks like "Feverish," "Itch Itch," and "Eardrum" look for reasons behind the fatigue, accompanied by sharper instrumentals and a crisper vocalization. Everything is entangled in a fog of frequencies with no clear division between high and low. There is very little percussion, with most rhythms created by repeating samples.
"Working in the mild climate of Estonia, Kristin Reiman -- aka Man Rei -- creates cloudy music that seems to always be slowly gathering into a storm. There isn’t much thunder on Cusp, though; it’s all humid atmospheres and fading spectres, rife with blurred vocals and smeared field recordings. There are some structures bubbling under Reiman’s soupy pieces, often forged by repeated sounds that become subliminal beats. But the beauty in Cusp isn’t so much about patterns as aura. The tracks here feel like they’re meant to immediately wrap themselves around the listener, then slowly dissipate into the air, like fog fading into the horizon." -Marc Masters
"...like listening to a Gregorian mass taking place in the next parallel universe, bathed in reverb and hums. The lyrical subject matter constantly touches on all the paranoia and inhibition one might expect from the aforementioned theme, particularly prevalent too during a pandemic which left many of us with a heightened sense of guilt, despite all our free time." -The Quietus
"Woozy and phantasmagoric, Man Rei’s songs evoke the feeling of a seance in a candlelit cabin..." -Redefine Magazine
"...dreamy, nocturnal soundcraft." -FFFoxy Podcast
"...so unusual and different, every time you listen you find something new. Just a fantastic record." -Independent Music Podcast
"Man Rei creates witchy, whispered compositions built out of urban field recordings and meditative vocal samples." -Bandcamp Daily
Artwork by Kristin Reiman
Layout by Liz Pavlovic
Mastered by t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 / Virtual Dream Plaza
Tape photos by Emily Dodson
released June 26, 2020