Halloween weekend has come and gone. Most of us are probably still recovering and/or are still bummed out about the events the led to the cancellation of the second day of Freaknight. Luckily, we have the perfect album to help soothe each of our frazzled brains courtesy of Manic Focus. Cerebral Eclipse is an amazing listen, chock full of chilled-out electro soul goodness with touches of funky dubstep and hip hop. Having been released last Tuesday, the album has been on repeat for us here at Dance Music Northwest.
Manic Focus (real name Josh McCarten) began his current project in 2010. The artist from Minneapolis recent transplanted to Chicago and started his career producing hip hop. Over the next few years, Manic Focus developed a truly unique style, breaking down the boundaries of electronic music by incorporating plenty of funk and soul elements into his music. Josh McCarten states Gramatik, Pretty Lights, Griz and Michal Menert as some of his biggest influences, which makes sense since his production is quite similar to those artists.
Manic Focus really started to rise to prominence with his remix of Dani California by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Since then, the producer has remixed other popular songs like Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping, Disclosure’s Latch, Bill Wither’s Use Me and even Petey Pablo’s Raise Up. These remixes show Manic Focus’s immense versatility and his ability to remix any kind of genre. The artist’s original tracks have also shown Manic Focus’s talent, as he can produce heavy tracks like Money Ain’t a ThanG or chill tracks like Distant Perspective.
It is really hard not to like Cerebral Eclipse. The album is extraordinarily smooth and is undoubtedly the best work Manic Focus has ever put out. Josh McCarten is still flying under the radar, as he does not nearly get the exposure that his music deserves. As more people listen to this album, it will be hard to continue underrating Manic Focus.
Manic Focus’s production on Cerebral Eclipse proves that he deserves way more attention than he gets. It is a rare skill to be able to blend so many different styles together to create a unique sound. Each of Manic Focus’s songs have a little bit of everything and he does an awesome job of mixing heavy and danceable sounds with chill and laid back beats. Josh’s dubstep wobble can at times be a bit abrasive, but it still adds a griminess that gives his production more of an edge. Just Another Fool is Manic Focus at his finest and best exemplifies his production style.
Featured Track: Manic Focus – Just A Fool
Manic Focus is classically trained on the piano, so his songwriting skills are well-developed. The song structure of his productions are incredibly smooth and easy to vibe with. One track that exemplifies that songwriting talent is his collaboration with GRiZ titled Life Goes On. It features a perfect blend of live instrumentals, synths, and vocal samples. With GRiZ playing his sexy saxophone and Manic Focus on the keys, the two synergize to create a tranquil and jazzy tune that exudes good vibes.
Featured Track: Manic Focus & GRiZ – Life Goes On
Cerebral Eclipse is incredibly cohesive. It almost listens as a jam session the entire way through. The songs lead perfectly into each other and the album flow is incredible. Cerebral Eclipse is diverse but the varying styles all meld together perfectly to enable the album to have a unified sound. On The Horizon showcases Cerebral Eclipse‘s impeccable cohesion. The song is entrancing. Since it is in the middle of the album, it acts as a seamless segway from the beginning of Cerebal Eclipse to its end. On The Horizon helps maintain the joyous ride that is this album.
Featured Track: Manic Focus – On the Horizon
Cerebral Eclipse is extraordinarily original, as it is a culmination of all of Manic Focus’s past production. The album builds on the producer’s original funky, soulful and wobbly style to produce Manic Focus’s best work. Trail Blazin’ features the vocals of Eryn Allen Kane and the rapping skills of Chicago counterparts ProbCause. Trail Blazin’ shows Manic Focus’s ability to stay close to his hip hop roots and the result is fantastic.
Featured Track: Manic Focus (feat. Eryn Allen Kane & ProbCause) – Trail Blazin’
To listen to Cerebral Eclipse follow the SoundCloud link below. Manic Focus also made the album available for free through his premiere with our friends at This Song Is Sick, but you can purchase Cerebral Eclipse on iTunes as well.
Get all the latest Pacific Northwest nightlife news, directly to your inbox.