RUPHUS – Manmade (2021 Remaster)
- by J.N.
- Posted on 29-07-2021
The musical journey of the seemingly ever-changing Norwegian act Ruphus is an incredibly interesting one and while their first couple of outputs were rooted in heavy, adventurous prog rock, later albums leaned more toward jazz rock (or jazz prog, if you will, or perhaps even progressive rock with prominent jazz overtones to it?). "Manmade" is essentially the epitaph to their spirited career and was originally released in 1979. Exhumed, remastered by the skilled Jacob Holm-Lupo, and then re-issued by the awesome Karisma Records, what we have here is an elegantly crafted LP that is rather sophisticated in terms of its arrangements and melodies.
Although there is quite a lot to digest and absorb throughout, "Manmade" is a far cry from being impenetrable or even unnecessarily complex or convoluted. Countless layers of depth and dynamism are present on the disc and the group’s collective talent is channeled like a laser here. Gudny Aspaas’ bewitching vocals are as strong and haunting as ever, which is perfectly exemplified by the semi-funky "Fashion of Today" and the stunning "Dear Friend". The melancholy beauty of the latter is magnificent, and it is simply a breathtaking piece of work with its fluid, evocative melodies as well as its wonderfully surreal atmosphere.
"Manmade" is a beautiful swansong LP that marked the end of the incredibly exciting and musically bold entity that is Ruphus, and the openminded listeners and adherents of prog rock out there may well find a lot to enjoy here. While my favorite albums by the ensemble are "New Born Day" (1973) and "Let Your Light Shine" (1976) and also the ones that I would recommend any newcomer to the band to check out first, "Manmade" is a must-have too.