Favorite Thisill-Mannered: Preview and EP Review

Published: May 16, 2011

The fertile crescent of Colorado—Boulder, Denver, and Ft. Collins—is fast-becoming ground zero of its own electronic enclave. Let’s call it mountain music. It differs, almost imperceptibly at first, from its progenitor to the West (both San Francisco and Los Angeles), but the distinctions begin to become more pronounced upon further analysis. The West Coast scene is all about that blitzkrieg bass. Mountain music has that emphasis on melody, the beats gestate in the hip-hop womb, and the bass is more inviting than insidious. Purveyors of the sound include Pretty Lights, Savoy, and Big Gigantic. Not bad company, at all.

The latest act to rise out of the scene is Ft. Collins’ ill-Mannered, a trio fronted by two producers and supported with an alleged rhythm magician. Philly’s Tyler Unland is the de facto leader of the group, heading the compositional elements with his vast commercial studio work. He, in fact, runs his own board out of What! Music headquarters. Professional snowboarder Benny Hernreich runs programs at Unland’s side; his role being, make sure shit’s tight. Done. Eric Imbrosciano out of New York is the trio’s drum machine. His live flavor takes ill-Mannered’s live productions over-the-top. With the epicenter of mountain music drawing in musicians to its burgeoning streets, the hope is some substance backs up the hype.

Their eponymous debut EP tries to cover as much of the mountain music spread as possible. With straightforward live drum tracks, flashy synths, and a splash of the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” “Just Don’t” kicks off the five-track release. More of that ultra-hype synth work covers “The Spot,” a seeming tribute to Derek Vincent Smith, and that bouncy electro-hop with which he’s he’s doused Ft. Collins. “G-Union” shows off some lush piano runs, a little downtempo wobbler that drops into Drake’s “Forever.” Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, Eminem… yup, I’d say that’s a true G-Union.

The real standout track on the album is “Stupidface.” Interestingly enough, it’s the most genre-disparate cut on the EP. Sounding like it came off MattB’s Made in Glitch or 1320 Records, it embodies that snapping glitch-hop sound of true left coasters. “Stupidface,” might be ill-Mannered’s first true banger. Throw in a little Biggie from “Gimme the Loot,” and you’ve got yourself a club hit—no question.

ill-Mannered cast a pretty wide net with their first release. A young act, the sense that they’re the enfant terrible of their Colorado ilk gives them a sort of credit and expectation heaped upon more substantial outfits. Let’s see where the first full-length takes them. With supporting dates on the horizon for Signal Path and Eliot Lipp, keep your ear to the ground, and see what kind of buzz is generated.


ill-Mannered EP