Phil Manley is best known for his membership in Trans Am and a slew of other bands, but more recently, he’s made a name for himself as a recording engineer (Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips). All the hard work hasn’t stopped him from continuing to branch out, though. In 2011, Manley released Life Coach, his personal tribute to Conny Plank, the legendary producer who helped formulate the sounds of Neu!, Can, and Kraftwerk.
Life Coach is a collection of instrumental songs composed, performed, and recorded entirely by Manley. The album takes his multi-instrumental skills and ear for sound — as well as his vintage guitars, synths, and a drum machine — and creates his own version of Krautrock. It’s pretty great.
Manley will bring both Life Coach and Trans Am to the Soda Bar on 12/15. Part of the ongoing Thrill Jockey 20th Anniversary Tour, the show (which will also feature TJ artists like High Places and Man Forever), should be a transcendental experience. In anticipation of the show, Mr. Manley provided us with his list of influences. Check it out:
What inspires Life Coach?
Grateful Dead bootlegs: Nothing like cruising on tour grooving to “Help on the Way” > “Slipknot” > “Franklin’s Tower” from Swing Auditorium, San Bernadino, CA, 2/26/77 (2nd set).
Analog tape: recording with analog tape offers crazy possibilities with speed adjustments, backwards recording/playback and tape flanging. The limitations of working with analog tape also informs the recording process in a way that yields humanistic musical results.
Germanium fuzz pedals: Life Coach has been on a 25 year tone-quest. Research shows that pedals built using Germanium transistors and diodes have an exciting wooliness/raspiness to them that causes ears to perk up and minds to melt.
SF Giants: 2010 & 2012 World Series Champions. What more to say? Can’t wait for next season…
Waves: We’re strongly influenced by waves of all types: soundwaves, oceanwaves, microwaves, radiowaves, compressional waves in traffic. They are all around us and inside of us.