Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pre-Dating The 13th

Pre-Dating The 13th - Drifting Away

The Way - Station Between Ecstasies

Contact:  kdogbox [at]

It takes a special kind of person to call themselves Morbid. Steve, Joe, Fred, Michael, Wayne, Ian and Kenneth are all workable names but I’m assuming Morbid wanted a moniker that stood out. He really is called Morbid too. Lots of people change their names of course, there's nothing hard about it; Derek Dick didn’t like his given name so he changed it to ‘Fish’ and started Marillion [although I’m not sure which name is the most embarrassing and why change one embarrassing name for another?] John Cleese’s father changed the family name from Cheese and Eric Clapton just doesn't have the same guitar God ring to it as Eric Clapp. So I wonder what given birth name lies behind Morbid? Maybe an obscure Biblical name like Ezekiel, a name lumbered on someone by over zealous Zionists parents perhaps or maybe its plain old Jack or Alan or Mohammed? Who knows. I used to correspond with Morbid back in the 90's and I seem to remember that he became fixated with an obscure Romanian artist called Victor Brauner and then maybe he changed his name to that. He started a band and called it Killy Dog Box and then we discovered we shared a passion for early Genesis. Not the early, early Jonathan ‘my lovely boys’ King Genesis but the stuff that started with Trespass. He wrote and printed a zine called Navigator which ran to a few issues and was full of trips to the coast and other ramblings and then as sometimes happens, we drifted apart.

Until last week when an email arrived from Morbid and on the back of it a download to Pre-Dating The 13th’s eleventh album. Now I may have been getting my Pre-Dating’s and  my Killy Dog Box’s mixed up but I’m pretty sure Pre-Dating is a collaboration with someone unknown to me and that KDB was Morbid all on his own - but I could be wrong. I seem to remember KDB being all dark ambiance but I could be wrong on that count too. There was a tape on Rob Haylers OTO label but nothing much more than that plus a few home spun jobs. I dare say I had some Pre-Dating in my hands around then too but the mists of time play tricks with my brian, I mean brain.

Drifting Away is an hours worth of segued tracks no doubt intended to induce some kind of altered state. Whilst listening to it I tried to think of what it sounded like and I came up with the following list; Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works’, Throbbing Gristle’s ‘In the Shadow of the Sun’ and  everything I heard by La Bradford in the early 90’s. There’s also bits of Ennio Morricone - which turn out to be the best bits. The worst bits are when the moaning vocals come in and then I got very angry. The Morricone bits are scraped strings, twanged strings, simple but effective. The opening is churning bass and seagull swoops of electric guitar, so much like La Bradford that I nearly swallowed my mentholated pastille. Great things are coming I thought but it wasn’t to last for Drifting Away is [fanfare of trumpets] a bit of a curates egg. At times the music does carry you, there’s a swarming over-driven buzz around the 50 minute mark that almost drifts into C.C.C.C. territory but these highlights are few and far between. With a bit of spit and polish though [and some judicious editing] Morbid could have this down to a decent enough 20 minute piece but as it stands its a wandering assemblage of moods and ambience that only rarely engages the listener. Well, this one anyway. I dare say that if you spend lots of your hard earned giro at Cold Spring then this may just have enough in it for you.

I forget where The Way came into things but if you want an hours worth of really bad Tangerine Dream, wounded vocals, thrumming bass guitars, tortured cattle and distorted twangs blasted out over a frozen plateau then get emailing. 

I like you Morbid I really do but sometimes your music just doesn’t do it for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, I'd rather be savaged by you Mark than have a whole slew of positive reviews!