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Favorite ThisManic Focus: Definition of the Rhythm Review

Published: April 12, 2012
By: Ty Allen

Get ready to groove people, because when Manic Focus, formally known as John “JmaC” McCarten, starts making music, you’ll have no choice. The classically trained Twin Cities native has been honing his skills for more than a decade and just a few weeks ago, when he released his increasingly popular track “Circles,” any suspicions about his production prowess dissolved. If you haven’t heard “Circles” yet, definitely check it out, it has an amazing video in tandem, but go ahead and give Definition of Rhythm your attention for now, you won’t be disappointed.
Exquisitely transforming beautifully orchestrated music into scientifically crafted, wavy bangers is something that just seems to happen whenever Manic creates a new track, and every one of these has that defining characteristic. His ability to take you from a calm, soothing build, through a wormhole of tranquility, then dropping you off in a realm of wonderful madness only to carry you back again, is astounding. Track 4, “Perspectives” is probably the earliest, most evident instantiation of such an ability; using ergonomic sounds that seem to just carry you away, until you get blasted in the face with bass.
Not shying away from the hip-hop culture of Chi-town is another thing Manic does best. As soon as the music starts in many of his songs, there’s an ominous feeling that there’s going to be rap, or some lyricism, dropped at any moment, but, while Manic artfully crafts chopped up vocals and sampling into his songs, they are all original tracks on this album. But, Manic definitely puts his sampling on display in the latter half of the album, in songs like “Kareoke”, where he magically concocts a musical potion of hit 90’s songs, and “Big Guns” and “That ThanG”, where the hip-hop influence and use of vocals are both certainly evident and uniquely instituted throughout. If you haven’t started listening yet, please, do yourself a favor and hit play. Just don’t forget to turn up that bass.