Morphosis: What Have We Learned (Delsin)
One of the most frustrating things about electronic music genres is their own sense of perimeter and limitations. Electro is a sound that, like most electronic sounds, continues to evolve, but it does so quite slowly and subtly. It tends to be a slave to its own conventions much of the time, requiring certain types of sounds to fit the mold. This isn’t in itself a bad thing, but it does lend a certain amount of predictability. Thankfully, Morphosis refreshingly offers up this full album of sublime, deep electro and techno crossover tracks that deviate left of the norm just enough to keep it exciting. The first track snakes along with a portamento bass synth and a sparse, reverberated percussive clatter. It’s this added layer of depth, odd noises and drones and overtones that sometimes lock in step and sometimes wander freely, that makes What Have We Learned an interesting and diverse listen. “Too Far” may be anchored by a typical 808 drum pattern, but the rest of it takes it beyond convention, between the seemingly freeform arrangement of sounds that runs overhead with an odd female vocal. “Gate of Night” drops the beat altogether and falls more in line with the currently en vogue synth revival, all synth lead and reverbed mallet sounds, a nice contrast to the insistent octave toggle of “Kawn” which is so superbly named, with its rhythmic machine caws throughout while it evolves into something more cinematic that would probably make John Carpenter proud. In some ways I am reminded of the otherworldiness of Drexciya’s repertoire, in the sense that Morphosis combines strange sounds and effects with the frameworks of electro and techno, but whereas Drexciya tended to reside underwater, Morphosis sounds more alien, interstellar. It’s a cool cosmic journey.