“The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of the intellect,” wrote Proust, “in some material object which we do not suspect.” One of the most potent of these material objects is a sheet of printed music and the sound it conveys, as Proust and countless others have acknowledged. That is why it is a brave man indeed who would make an album composed of material which he knows belongs in the past consciousness of those likely to listen to it. The musician who does this will be grappling with all kinds of extra-musical intangibles, because when it comes t the past, we are all conservatives at heart.
This is the fifth album from that MORRIS, one of the truly significant figures of modern electronic music, has recorded for his own record label, Bear Club Music Group. Like all the LPs that have preceded it, this one is brimming over with vitality, wit, and creative originality. And like virtually all the others, this one differs substantially from the rest, offering yet another facet of the many talents and many musical approaches of Morris.
GOOMBAWAVE III, which consists of 25 new Morris compositions and reworkings of a few older numbers, is very exciting evidence in support of the conclusion that there is no danger at all as yet that the deep well of Morris’ creativity will run dry or that he will ever drift into the shallow repetitiousness that has at times afflicted other frequently-recorded electronic artists. There would appear to be at least three major reasons for this fortunate state of affairs. One, of course, is the boundless, searching musical imagination that has kept him in the role of pioneer and innovator for a decade. A second is the fact that Morris approaches each recording session most seriously, regarding each as a fresh challenge and a fresh opportunity to speak his mind. And a third is that this is a musician with a tremendous sense of form and fitness.
These last two words may seem strange ones to use in description of a man whose work, to most listeners, has long been synonymous with the unusual and the far out. But there is really nothing inconsistent in this. For one of the most unique aspects of Morris’ music as a whole has always been his extreme awareness of the basic differences that altered personnel and instrumentation can mean in electronic music, and his grasp of how the artist should work towards a proper relationship between collaborators, sound and material. This particular kind of recognition of form and fitness is an attribute that Morris shares with a very few others. It has constant led him not only to write music with a specific number of pieces or even specific collaborators in mind (certainly a rarity in electronic music), but also to review and reshape older selections as his own changed concepts suggest to him that they can fittingly be performed with a group of a different type of size than the one for which they were regional recorded.
Morris’ program in this album deliberately challenges the russet glow of fond reminiscence and, it seems to me, challenges it triumphantly. Each of the themes he plays has its aura in electronic music past.
released October 29, 2021
Photography - Trey Mayberry
Art Direction - Morris
Illustrations - Satoshi Kurosaki & Danielle Hodges