Exposé Online banner

Mantaray — Numinous Island
(Silent R9592, 1995, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-01-19

Numinous Island Cover art

Mantaray is the duo of Susumu Yokota and DJ Ray. Yokota is a prolific Japanese trance and ambient composer; DJ Ray hails from New Zealand and he predominantly DJs at parties in Australasia. Yokota and Ray first met in Tokyo in 1992 and starting recording together in 1994. They named their CD Numinous Island after an essay by Peter Blegvad of Slapp Happy titled On Numinous Objects and Their Manufacture. In this essay Peter describes a numinous object as being a “mirror of the spirit” and the “radiant focus of an entire world.” Together as Mantaray, Yokota and Ray transform Blegvad’s words into a collection of 20 ambient soundscapes that flow gently from one to another, yet each one is unique and never boring. Using the sounds of water, birds and other animals, found voices, and electronics Mantaray weaves a sonic quilt of light and airy and darkly sinister moods. There is a distinctive ethnic or native quality to Mantaray’s music that puts them in the same league as Jorge Reyes and Steve Roach. Nowhere is there evidence of Yokota’s or Ray’s rock, punk, and techno roots. And thankfully there is none of that mind-numbing Orb, FSOL, or Aphex Twin dance trance schlock so popular in the mid-90s. Instead, like Brian Eno’s decades old ambient work, Numinous Island works on several levels. You can play it at a low volume to augment your surroundings or you can crank up the volume and focus on the music to explore the golden threads in Mantaray’s intricate sonic world. My only complaint with Numinous Island is that I cannot read the song titles on the inserts. There is not enough contrast between the text and the beautiful artwork for me to discern the words. But this nit pales in comparison to the excellent quality of this release. By all means look for this CD.


Filed under: New releases, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Blegvad, Mantaray

Latest news

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Moraine - Manifest Density – Moraine is a new Seattle-based five-piece led by guitarist Dennis Rea (please refer to our feature on Mr. Rea in issue 23 for more background), joined by a rhythm section of bass and drums, plus a...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues