Manual’s latest release sees the label welcome back France’s Eggo, following up his ‘The Valley/Respire’ release on the label a couple of years ago with a short but musically diverse four-track EP.

‘Prelude’ starts out as a moody, dreamy ambient piece, but it quickly morphs into a techno track with metallic percussion and a buzzing bassline. Sadly there’s not much development of the track after the beat makes its appearance, and it seems mostly designed to function as a short set-intro.

‘Seaborn’ sees Eggo steer us into more solid melodic techno territory, with impressive bass tones guiding the way, topped with an urgent melody that emerges gradually during the first breakdown, intensifying into acidic flourishes before the track empties aside from a kickdrum and a sweeter, more abstract melody. The bassline reappears, working really well with the melody, before the track drops into silence, then soars, releasing all of its elements simultaneously for a surprisingly uplifting climax.

‘Early Days’ is very different, having both a housier and a more experimental flavour. The centrepiece is the simple piano line, which Eggo supports with a funky bassline, skipping percussion, and spacey sweeps. The one point of similarity with ‘Seaborn’ is that it too boasts a really terrific final sequence, which sees the track become something far greater than the sum of its parts, packing considerable emotional punch in the process. This isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but for the right listeners and the right dancefloors, this will be a real treat.

The final track returns us to the melancholy electronica of the EPs intro, with ‘Goodbye’, which sees haunting pads soon joined by a churning, acidic bassline and a simple downtempo beat. There are some quite lovely sounds involved here, but as with ‘Prelude’, I didn’t feel like there was enough development even given it’s short running time.

Overall, it’s hard not to feel like the first and last tracks should be the starting and ending points of a much longer piece of work; it’s somewhat odd to find them bookending just two fairly short tracks, as they do here. On the other hand, the two tracks in question are some of Eggo’s best work so far, with ‘Seaborn’ appealing to me very slightly more than ‘Early Days’ – but it’s really a close run thing. 8/10

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