Michael Morris 2018
Searching for a new dimension, New Zealand polymath creates a niche world of his own and pushes its boundaries beyond event horizon.
Born in London, raised in the land of kiwi and based in Paris: Michael Morris’ life trajectory speaks volumes of the artist’s inherent restlessness – and volume is a vital aspect of what this musican does, both as a leader of THE RIVER JESTERS and a performer accompanied by a band that lent their name to a title of his first solo record. Comprised only of six tracks, the album is brief, but it’s also expansive, the arresting prog epic “Not Space Nor Time” – alternatively flying and falling in filigree fashion – may be worth the price of admission alone, although there’s hardly a full scope of MM’s abilities even in such a long track. He’s capable of much more in terms of unpredictability which is manifested from the very beginning.
Awe and surprise lurk in the meditative delight of “The Morning” whose slowly emerging muscular strum strays away from a power chord course to make room for majestic orchestral soundscape before snapping into psychedelic pop – theatrical but catchy – and unfolding again to a jubilant anthem, with Morris’ guitar soaring where his voice feared to tread. Another daring destination is offered in “Rabbit Hole” that’s adventurous and gloomy at the same time, with piano tinkles leaving breadcrumbs as if there was a chance to return from this doom-laden trip, and a menacing creak leaving no hope, while the licks of “Landslide” are rather romantic in their raga-like acceptance of change despite metal clang applied to the song’s finale.
“Cobweb Head” sees its acoustic blues intensify and reach the delirious stage with Michael screaming in desperation, and the dirge behind “Big Truck” can do nothing about it except for forming choral incantations out of heaviness and usher light in – partly unplugged yet entirely electrifying. That’s the gist of the New Zealander’s oeuvre which can grow into respectable catalogue over the years; here’s an artist to keep an eye on.