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Review of "The Descent" by The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara

Beauty, brutality, rock poetry.

Photography by Wix Images

Review by Jessica Adelson (Non-Fiction), The Continuist

Daphne Ang and Andrea Papi are an independent duo based in London, England, and are better known by their musical name The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara. The recent release of their single “The Descent” is an accomplishment that deserves to be praised. Electronic, rock, and spoken word poetry are scarcely used in combination, however this duo proves that it is possible to blend these contrasting genres to create an exceptionally powerful outcome.

The poetry on its own is beautifully written and delivered. The words are spoken from Mother Nature’s perspective as she watches the destruction of the Earth and warns of the planet’s disastrous fate. “When faced with nothing but shards and smithereens of a flawed existence; A glorious train wreck, on her maiden voyage to a phantom promise land.”

The music complements the lyrics in such a way that amplifies the message and stays engaging throughout the entire six minute duration. The gentle and rhythmic electronic opening immediately induces a trance-like state that is strengthened as the intensity increases. The song produces an effect that allows one to feel as though they are not simply listening to the music, but that it is unfolding all around them, filling up the surroundings. The track moves from electronic to heavy rock in a slightly jarring but effective transition that breaks the rhythmic trance as if awakening the listener to the realities of the planet’s state. The song maintains a high intensity through the end of the piece as though further emphasizing the critical point in time we exist within, and the need to approach the climate crisis with a similar intensity.

The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara describe “The Descent” as a theatrical experience, and it is exactly that. The piece of music creates an experience and the addition of the music video greatly enhances the audio. Rather than simply accompanying the song, it works as a platform to raise the music to new heights. Simple clips are edited together, yet there is power in the simplicity. As the music starts softly and begins to build, the short clips reflect beautiful images of nature; as it transitions to heavy rock music, clips of tornadoes and erupting volcanoes create destruction to the rhythm of the music.

The combination of musical genres and visuals can be described as a piece of artwork. “The Descent” grabs your attention from the introduction and makes it impossible to lose focus.

As the music industry increasingly shifts to a digital realm, I can see nothing but opportunity for The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara. After seeing the duo create a captivating experience simply through the combination of audio and short video clips, I can’t help but imagine how powerful it would be to experience their music accompanied by virtual or augmented reality technology. As these tools become increasingly accessible, I believe they can use them to their advantage to create an immersive world to accompany their already engaging sound.

“‘The Descent’ presents a theatrical experience of both the beauty and brutality of nature. The song is narrated through the voice of Mother Nature, who recites an ominous monologue warning us of imminent disaster.”

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