woensdag 28 augustus 2013

Mixtape Review #002 - Morphosis live @ Boilerroom

Ok it's been a long, long time since I wrote Mixtape Review #001. It was my intention to write two or so of these reviews a month, but sometimes it just so happens that life catches up with you while you are making all these plans. Anyway, now it's finally time for review #002 and this time I focus on one of my favourite dj/producers around: the infamous Morphosis. The setting of this particular set I am focusing on isn't all that spectular, since everybody and their grandma seems to be doing sets for Boiler Room these days, but the quality of the set itself is simply mindblowing and leaves us gasping for air, not sure whether or not we want more because the preceding hour just has been so fucking intense.


The Artist
Let me quickly introduce Morphosis to those who are unfamiliar with him and his work. Morphosis, real name Rabih Beaini, is a Lebanese electronic music artist and already active in the scene since the early 1990's. First in Lebanon, later in Italy, where he moved to to learn more about producing. In 2005 he started his own label, called Morphine Records. Mostly to release his own material, but also work by other artists like the amazing Hieroglyphic Being or Metasplice. One of the latest records released on the label is one by Morphosis himself: What Have We Learned (2011), which received heaps of praise by almost all reviewers and includes the track 'Too Far', that some of you might know in the form of one of the two Marcel Dettmann edits.

Back to Morphosis himself. What really draws me to both his own productions and his style of dj-ing is his love for deep and weird tunes in combination with a sense of freedom. His own tracks are heavily influenced by African music and jazz and he himself often cites Sun-Ra as one of his core influences. In my book, a dj citing Sun-Ra as an influence has my attention and I believe that Morphosis does a wonderful job in referencing to this legend and at the same time adding beautiful details originating in other musical genres. The result is something unmistakably Morphosis. The same goes for his dj-sets, in which he sometimes totally disrespects the rules of synchronizing or sequencing, in favour of the atmosphere and the quality of the songs. He can do a 5 hour live set that starts off with African freejazz and ends in smashing techno (Dekmantel party) or do a 3 hour liveset at Panorama Bar which includes the like of Sunn O))), as published by mnml ssgs. That set on mnml sggs by the way is how I got to know about Morphosis about a year ago. I can only hope that a blog post like the one I am writing here can do the same for some readers.

The Mix
Back to the mix at hand here. Let's open with a minor statement: this is one of the best mixes I have ever heard. Ever. I must have listened to this recording about seventeen times by now and I keep coming back to it. Although I must say it is not a mix that you put on play on just any occasion. It's certainly no happy-go-lucky cheerful background mix. It's intense. As fuck. When I listen to this mix, I am just not here anymore. I enter a true head trip that takes me through the history of music, of mankind and also through the multiverse of Being. 

There's a perfect amount and combination of vocals, kicks, beats and claps, snares and noises, highs and lows. Morphosis puts together a selection that encompasses the totality of Life Herself and at the same time manages to get Her to dance. Both physically and philosophically. Morphosis swings between jazz, new wave, techno, ambient, middle eastern, no wave, post punk, noise, chansons... it's equal parts Throbbing Gristle, the soundtrack to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and Checkpoint 303. Morphosis offers us a vocal madness, a neuro-tribalism, a melting into an almost psychedelic experience.

More than just a regular dj, Morphosis is a sculptor of sounds. He erects a statue during his set, yet not one that is solid and stable, but rather one that is fluid, with ever changing appearances, always relocating the boundaries between the Real and the Imagined. Around the statue, but still within the music, there's a madness of people getting lost in hypnotic dances, becoming one with the dance itself, completely unaware of their surroundings. Fuck, they even become their surroundings.

It's hard to say what my favourite part of this set is. Perhaps even impossible, because there are so many elements that make me lose my mind. Let me point out one of them though: the finale. From 55 minutes onwards in the set, I as listener don't know what the fuck is going on anymore. The build up until that moment followed by those glorious final minutes? Those birdlike cackles, the loud overwhelming noise parts and eventually the Arabic chanting and tunes... it makes me collapse inside myself, turning my insides into a mist of vapour and my consciousness into a state of effervescence that alters the conditions of my psychic reality...

If you'd like to go on an adventure with some friends, just put on this mix, lie down on the floor, stare at the ceiling and within no time you are everywhere but here... And you don't even need any substance for that, the music itself will do the work. 

What a wonderful set.

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