Few artists would opt to switch up their process ahead of their debut album, but IMANU's creative reset is paying dividends.
IMANU's album has been in the making for some time as he began writing it just a few months into the pandemic.
"I had to find a way out of the boring routine," explained on Twitter. "I stayed with my parents for a few months, occupying their spare attic room and bought a new laptop and pair of headphones, just trying to find new ways to be productive. This fresh start brought me a creativity which enabled me to write music like i had never done before..."
That decision would go on to have tremendous downstream impacts. Processing Unfold now in full, the effort is an all-encompassing, multi-genre project that particularly uncovers the melodic potential of his sound.
Putting many of the blanket ominous sounds to the side, Unfold is chock full of lush textures, playful melodies and swelling vocals. But despite the melodic consistency, IMANU's structural versatility is quite impressive as he jukes from the frenetic drum & bass of "Can't Find The Words" to the heavy trap beat of "Shoyu," while even managing to sprinkle in glimpses of house music and more along the way.
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The fact that Unfold is as collaborative as it is makes it even more remarkable how cohesively it comes across. "Somehow We Lost It All" (with Pham and josh pan) as well as "Pillow Talk" (with Wingtip and What So Not) are easy standouts, each seemingly finding the right atmosphere and bold assembly of artists to elevate IMANU's mind-bending creative approach to new heights.
The task of undertaking a debut album is frequently an inflection point that can make or break an artist. Maybe it was the time and place it all started, the collaborators in the room or a combination of both, but Unfold proves IMANU is ready to meet the moment—and then some.
You can stream Unfold here.