Jonny Martin intends to confuse you.
“I might be crashing some heads. I might be molding some brains,” said the Oklahoma City-based Martin, who records under the name Mannachine. “I want people to leave saying, ‘What is this? What is going on?’”
Intrigued listeners can get a taste of his down-tempo, ambient pieces Saturday when he simultaneously releases the free “Shiva, the Destroyer EP” online and performs a release show at Belle Isle Brewery. Norman electronic jam band Montu will support.
Martin, a member of now-defunct local act The Uglysuit, carried very little of his former band’s enthusiastic, positive sound over to his solo project.
“It tinges to a dark, ambient place. It’s very opposite of, a contrast to, The Uglysuit,” he said.
Instead of drawing on Western pop music, he looked to Middle Eastern, African and Bollywood musicians such Amadou & Mariam and Lata Mangeshkar for inspiration. He sought to strip away the excess of music and get down to a “tribal” sound.
“I really wanted to write an album that connected to that universal heartbeat,” Martin said. “It’s very emotional music, but it’s an emotion that you really can’t get in a lot of other music. Not the emotion I’m going for, anyway. I’d even describe it as animalistic.”
The emotion underscores the content and title of “Shiva, the Destroyer.”
“It’s a concept album about destruction of ego. There’s a drawback of vocals and lyrics and getting to that heartbeat, that tribal, animalistic feel,” Martin said. “It’s a very deep album for me.”
But it’s not just the sound that he feels will be different. The heavy rhythmic aspect to the tunes will be amplified in live shows that Mannachine plays with a full band, as Western and African percussion will be layered over the electronic music.
Martin also will play solo sets of the material, but he doesn’t want to be called a DJ.
“I’m not gonna consider myself a DJ, but hopefully, it will blend over with those crowds,” he said.
Whether with a band or solo, Mannachine isn’t merely notes and rhythms.
“Mannachine is going to be a visual undertaking, as well as a musical one. I want to touch as many senses as possible,” Martin said. “I want it to be visually stunning, as well as audibly stunning. I don’t want any aspect to take over any other aspect of it.”
The CD release will be memorable for its sensory overload, he promises.
“The smoke machine and light show will be something else, and the sheer mass of percussion synced with the lights,” Martin said. “I don’t plan on doing a lot of local shows, so when I do, I want them to be an event.”
He has plans for regional tours, as well as production of a full album this summer. Until then, Mannachine has two singles online at mannachine.bandcamp.com: the mechanical “Silken Tongues” and a slowed-down cover of Local Natives’ “Sun Hands.”
Both are free downloads, and a teaser of just a small bit of something that’s just a taste of what Mannachine can do.
“This is a starter to get my sound out,” Martin said. “I wanted to hone in on the sound that I want to make for the rest of the time." —Stephen Carradini