Words: Karl Johnson | Photo: Lola Stephen
Entering the realm of Mandrake Handshake is a thing of beauty, it’s a place where technology fuses with nature, but human interaction and gut feeling trump the current world of popularity contests played out via Spotify algorithms. Returning with new single ‘Emonzaemon’ and teasing upcoming EP ‘The Triple Point of Water’ – due November 18th – the London-based collective return in fine form.
The band state, “The track is inspired by a ninja from the anime Katanagatari. Just like his namesake, the song is supposed to represent both the Shuriken and the Painted Beauty in equal measure. You have the shuriken, which is the riff, and you’ve got the verses, which is the relationship between Emonzaemon and Princess Hitei whom he serves – the Painted Beauty. The point is that he’s a sword, not human, and that this track is not music, but our sword too”.
Building tension through the slow-burning anxious electronics, ‘Emonzaemon’ acts as a portal to a landscape of mesmeric guitars and pulsating bass grooves. Floral vocal harmonies catapult us onto the dancefloor, one covered in leaves and trailing vines that wrap around your limbs and allow you to move puppet-like, a rabbit in the headlights to the relentless, krautrock-cum-psychedelic hippocampus takeover. Ready yourself for the ending, an overload of heavenly melodies and explosive guitars shudder and fragment the mix – the nine-limbed sonic unit provide 5 minutes of picture-perfect escapism.