Mikael Máni understands what's perhaps the most important thing about nostalgia: even if it's a near-universal thing, the experience is still different for everyone. Consequently, his personal Nostalgia Machine isn't so personal that it feels particularly tied to him, or even to any place or time. His variety of semi-abstract Nordic jazz gets at the kind of mood that underlies nostalgic feelingsthoughtful, reflective, vaguely dreamywhile staying open and accessible enough for anybody to enjoy on any level.
If the emotional tones here are too amorphous to pin down much, so are the musical ones. There's a folky feel to the simple melodies even as the group grooves together like a small combo in a jazz club. His sunny guitar is no more prominent than the easy-coasting percussion, floating clarinet lines or rippling waves of piano. The production is rounded out with only a little coloring; a little celeste here, some wordless singing or a chiming metallophone there, always brushed in with the lightest of touches.
Although the crew gets bouncy from time to time, there's an airiness to the sound that never leaves. Nothing gets drenched in echo or studio-processed to sound dreamy; Máni lets his pleasantly wistful tunes carry the mood without needing to push any obvious buttons. It's a flowing work packed with feeling and smarts that lets the listener skim the surface or listen as deeply as they like. Each piece means something to him and yet something different to anyone else who hears it.
Nostalgia Machine; Trying to Stay Afloat; Let’s Start at the Beginning; Two Sisters; Ani; I Want to
Know Better; Almost There; My Day with Pierre; Last Stop Before Final Destination; Be Still,
Sinking Heart; The Attic.