Grumpy Bird Reviews: Diaspora – Manny Marx

I’m trying something new and reviewing music. Partly because I am a big fan of music, sounds simplistic but very true. Mostly because I am a great admirer of the artist Manny Marx and as he is a fellow independent I want to help shine a light however I can.

  Album: Diaspora

Artist: Manny Marx

Let’s get this out of the way. Manny is a friend of mine and we share a long Japan history together. You can even find him on a Comics Legue International podcast talking about Spider-Man. He also has let me use his music in my various podcasts and projects.

I am thrilled he does because Manny is an awesome musician. And the man has range. Diaspora shows off some of that range even though it does stay towards the electric end of his talents. 

Let’s start with what Diaspora is, a sci-fi concept album with a rich history a generational story. All of this shines through in the music. It comes off equal parts jazz although it would sound just as welcome in a low tech video game. Just to be clear: that is a good thing. My first reaction was how can something sound futuristic and retro at the same time.

The concept album part is fairly important here. You aren’t going to find pop,  radio friendly songs. You will find great hooks and very thickly layered pieces of music begging to be dissected.

This is a space jazz soundtrack enhanced by the occasional husky vocal poetry of Manny himself. I had one of those moments where I almost couldn’t believe the guy I know is the voice come thing through the headphones.

If I had one critique it would be that I think he could have gone further with the concept as it appears in the music. Don’t get me wrong, Manny runs with this more than other star “concept” albums I’ve heard. And when it bleeds in it is all over the place. But at times it felt like I was listening more to the soundtrack of the concept rather than the concept itself.

Still, that doesn’t alter that this has become the current soundtrack for my commute. It turns my train ride into something aboard a starship.

Check it out here.

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