MANAS s/t Debut LP out on Feeding Tube Records August 4th, 2015.
Tashi Dorji~ Guitar
Thom Nguyen~ Drums
First LP by Manas, a duo comprised of guitarist Tashi Dorji and drummer Thom Nguyen. Tashi, who’s based in Asheville NC these days, has been cutting a wide swathe through the guitar underground over the past few years. Originally focused on acoustic weaponry, he has added electric guitar to his arsenal, without giving up any of the weird angular bite of his initial work. Thom is known to have played with a couple of Asheville free rock bands, Nest Eggs and Mendocino, but this is the first exposure his excellent work will be having outside of Buncombe County.
As a duo, Manas explores lots of improvisational ground, ranging from extreme sideways expansions of sonics texture — with Tashi’s guitar moving decisively outward while Thom’s drums explode in a mostly (but not entirely) parallel plane — to repetative reflecto passages that curl up into a tight ball before achieving escape velocity. The record is a blast, with deceptively arch liner notes by none other than Ben Chasny, who has been one of Tashi’s loudest cheerleaders for many a moon.
But we can’t really blame Ben. This Manas LP makes us wanna shout about team spirit too. Guh! Guh! Guh!
– Byron Coley, 2015
"Bhutanese guitarist Tashi Dorji has been searching for new ways of squeezing abstract tones from his instrument since first laying ears on the likes of Derek Bailey and other free improvisers. Originally an acoustic player, he has since dipped his fingers in electricity, widening his tonal range and spewing flames in the process. Now based in North Carolina, Manas is his duo project with drummer Thom Nguyen, who has been involved in a few free-rock outfits in the area. The electric guitar-drums combination is a template for greatness, especially with a pair of tornado-conjuring players such as these fine gentlemen.
Dorji, whose playing is decidedly "normal" sounding on the duo's self-titled debut LP (in comparison to his Bailey-like acoustic workouts), takes a variety of directions aided and abetted by Nguyen's energetic skin pounding. There is layering and a few moments of slow-burning tension, but most of the exciting moments arise when the players plough full steam ahead in a seemingly hydra-headed fashion. Those who enjoy unbridled freedom and energy in their music should certainly take note of these two rising stars."
- Byron Hayes, Exclaim!