A nightclub where you might expect the songs from More Content to be playedFlickr / Christian Klöppel (https://flic.kr/p/37tzic)

Rah that’s a mad question, is both a quote you have probably heard on the streets of Cambridge and the title of a track from Barry Can’t Swim’s debut EP, Amor Fati. Inspired by this track and perhaps rather audaciously, earlier this year I emailed Barry Can’t Swim’s agent and requested whether the Scottish born, London based DJ (real name Joshua Mannie), would be interested in playing at a May Ball. Naturally, his agent noted that Barry was more focused on producing for the time being. With the artist’s newest EP, More Content, you can certainly see where he was focusing his energy.

Over the past year since the release of Mannie’s debut EP, he has been teasing his ever-increasing followers on Spotify with a series of delectable singles. Including the sonically euphoric collaboration with fellow DJ, Anish Kumar on the northern soul inspired, Blackpool Boulevard. This creative endeavour led to Barry Can’t Swim receiving worthy critical acclaim, as well as being voted as one of Billboard’s, ‘10 Dance Artists to Watch in 2022’.

“Mannie has created another EP that finely balances the darker side of life with supremely uplifting moments”

Building upon these strong foundations it is unsurprisingly that the classically trained jazz musician is a virtuoso in demonstrating his signature blend of jazz and electronica on his second EP. The aural similarities of both EPs: Amor Fati and More Content, are a testament to most of the tracks being produced during lockdown. Mannie has created another EP that finely balances the darker side of life with supremely uplifting moments.

The title of the opening track, Sonder, is taken from John Koening’s definition in his work The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Koening defines sonder as, ‘the profound feeling that everyone including strangers passing in the street has a life as complex as one’s own.’ The certain poetry that Mannie creates with the track, “Sonderis reflective of this exact definition. You are welcomed into the EP with open arms by rich opulent tones and uplifting sounding keys. Mannie builds the track with the sound of jubilant brass; transporting you to a different place entirely, reminiscent of Mannie’s previous single “El Layali”.

With the powerfully raw vocal sample that opens the second track, “Can We Still Be Friends?there is animmediate departure from the tranquil opening of the EP. Mannie successfully evokes the torment and remorse of contemplating over a past relationship. In signature Barry Can’t Swim style, the track begins to build using the sound of a harp combined with synth and deploys further vocal sampling to create an emotive work that becomes hard not to pay attention to. As the only track on the EP not to be produced in lockdown, it may signal why this track is distinctively emotive and raw.

The repetition of the lyrics, ‘you know I need you’ and ‘I need you in my life’, interspersed with heavy drum breaks and the perfectly placed pizzicato of the harp, allows you to truly relish and be enraptured by the piece of art that has been created.

“The final luxuriating sound created by Mannie feels both ethereal and hedonistic”

It does seem inevitable that Laurence Guy and Mannie would eventually collaborate, with Guy’s adept use of jazz orchestration in his own work. Luckily for fans of House music they bumped into each other at their local pub in Dalston and decided to work together. Creating what I believe to be the crowning jewel on the EP, if only my visits to The Eagle were as fortuitous.

After the sonically overpowering sampling onCan We Still be Friends?, God is the Space Between Usopens with the soothing tones of Taite Imogen. The combination of reverb and the automated vocal throughout creates a distinctive ambient and nostalgic quality to this track. The final luxuriating sound created by Mannie feels both ethereal and hedonistic; if you needed a siren song for 2022 this would be the one to choose.


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In a recent interview, Mannie noted that he has been enjoying writing more club orientated music, which is demonstrated on the fiery final track on the EP, “Fiorucci made me hardcore. Initially, I found this final track a little jarring in contrast to the other tracks on the EP and Mannie’s previous work. It is perhaps clear that is made for more a commercial club and festival audience, rather than ambient listening.

Once I quelled my initial qualms about this track and stopped taking myself so seriously, I found myself tapping my foot along accordingly when the bass dropped a minute in. Whilst I would be dismayed if Mannie lost the more organic and comforting sound found in his previous work, I can also see myself dancing to this in a field in the home counties this summer.

The pithy title of, More Content, downplays the transcendent and exquisite nature of this EP. The glue that holds this EP together: the blend of harp, vocals, and synth across all tracks, makes Barry Can’t Swim stand out among the usual suspects of House artists today. With tracks such as “Can We Still Be Friends? Mannie has reaffirmed why he is heralded as an artist to watch. Whilst his buoyant abilities are uncertain, what is confirmed is that this EP is 14 minutes of pure bliss. With the release of this EP and the artist soon to play Lost Village, it is fair to say that Barry Can’t Swim is surfing the wave of approval in 2022.