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Life Coach is a collaboration. Following Phil Manleys 2011 solo debut Life Coach, which Aquarius Records called, a serious, and seriously kick ass slab of modern minimal krautrock, Manley set about writing a set of songs that he could perform live. After writing and tracking guitar, bass, synth, and vocals on his own, he recruited his friend and former Golden band mate Jon Theodore (The Mars Volta, One Day As A Lion), with whom Manley has been playing music for two decades, as the drummer and second official member of Life Coach. The complimentary kinship between Manleys tightly constructed songs and Theodores unrestrained playing was instant. Rounded out by the addition of Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless, Golden Void), who contributes lead guitar on several songs, Life Coach was born as an entity unto itself.
Alphawaves was written as a singular piece, each song flowing into the next, forming a dynamic musical narrative. The record is propulsive with a sense of forward motion never receding; it is telling that when performing live, Life Coach plays the album to completion. The record opens with Sunrise, a tanpura based drone track meant to ease the listener into the album gently and without expectation. The title-track blooms from inside the sound of the tanpura, kicking the album into high gear. Alphawaves pulsates, Theodore s motorik beat melding with low synth throbs while Manley and Mitchells intertwining guitars radiantly beam. Tracks like Fireball and Minds Eye feature a hard rock edge that hasn t been heard from Manley since his work with The Fucking Champs. As the palm muted guitar chug of Minds Eye melts into the heavy, cathartic drone of Ohm, the circular nature of Alphawaves becomes apparent.
In addition to being a founding member of Trans Am, and playing with The Fucking Champs, Oneida, and Jonas Reinhardt, Manleys notoriety as a producer and engineer only continues to grow. Manley has recorded albums by Wooden Shjips, Golden Void, Date Palms, Barn Owl, The Fresh & Onlys and many others at LCR in San Francisco, and Manleys recording skills are apparent when listening to Alphawaves. Theodores drums were recorded in his Malibu garage and only first takes, with no revisions, were used. Alphawaves delivers technicolor charm and grit in equal measures. It emanates positive energy, yogic in its approach and euphoric in its execution.
Minds Eye is a powerful blast of twenty-second Century prog-rock, channeling everything great about Trans Am, Rush, Tangerine Dream, and The Mars Volta into one relentless light-speed paced rocker. It simply sounds out of this world...If you want to know what the future sounds like, just look to Alphawaves. --Dagger
...this isn't tribute-band trash; part of Manley's skill is in hauling new feeling out of well-trodden ideas. --Pitchfork
Propulsive, motorik, euphoric and immaculately recorded, Alphawaves splices the super-clean, proggy aggression of Phil Manley s main gigs (Trans Am, Fucking Champs) with the ecstatic repetition of side work in Oneida. Like much of Manley s production work, the album sheathes Krautish gnosticism in a glossy technological perfection, somehow finding mystery in sounds that are surreally precise and clear. --Blurt