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Electric Orange - Morbus CD (album) cover

MORBUS

Electric Orange

 

Krautrock

3.95 | 22 ratings

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Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars The sea-captain's favourite

I live on the north western side of Denmark. I can almost spot the sea, if only I was 15 feet taller that is. On a daily basis the wind freely sloshes in over the countryside without any form of restraint. This is agricultural lands, so there is literally nothing put in its way, leaving the wind unchecked and free to flow like - yep you guessed it: the wind. It has a way of humbling you. It sets you straight - you often feel these wild powerful gusts crashing into you without warning - reminding you of mother nature and just how fickle she can be.

I don't know why it dawned on me, but earlier during a meaningless walk around the neighbourhood, I felt this particular natural trade in many ways complimented Electric Orange's Morbus record. I might be insane and a bit off, but to me that aforementioned sloshing quality - the sailor-like shifting back and forth, like were you standing on a ship in heavy seas, that is in fact the essence of what makes this album so magnificent.

This is first and foremost simple music. You won't find much in the way of blistering solos or crazy Haydn inspired oboe segments, although you may encounter the odd time sig here and there, - no the music is all about creating brooding sloshing atmospheres, that take you out on windswept journeys where only mad sea-captains have ventured before. For a long period of time I had the sneaking suspicion, that I knew the music - that I at least knew the feel of it. Like it was lying on the tip of my tongue, yet no dice - there was absolutely nothing that came to mind in terms of other Germanic Krautrockers or the likes. Then I attended a social gathering with some old school buddies of mine, and suddenly whilst drinking Tuborg beers and snaps it struck me like a ton of bricks: Damn!!! Is that Cypress Hill we're listening to?!?!?!

We were in fact listening to Cypress Hill playing live at the Filmore. Now don't start with me before you hear me out, because I reckon you may find it hard believing in any sort of redeeming parallels between west coast gangsta rap and modern day Krautrock, but the fact of the matter is that there are a couple of valid references. Firstly, Cypress Hill were playing with a real backing band. On one of their more politically charged tunes called Looking Through the Eye of the Pig they wield a tasty form of psychedelic guitar driven rock, and it is here that I suddenly heard the similar qualities that I'd been searching for. Electric Orange flow much in the same vein. Like the aforementioned sloshing winds, the guitars also feel sluggish, lethargic, thick like melting glue. They are rhythmic figurines accompanied by slow oscillating organ parts that drift and waft like a dense sauce-like fog. On the backbone of this you have the bass and drums keeping things nice and heavy - spreading out roots for this high towering smeared musical endeavour.

Like I said, this is essentially very simple music. It takes some of the best facets of post- rock and apply them to an endemic musical force, making it sound nothing like the genre. I don't hear any post-rock, but the constant bobbing back and forth on these sloshing guitar driven hard hitting psych textures - are testimony of what you can obtain with the approach.

I love everything about this release: the constant overhanging organ thicket occasionally replacing itself with a flügel - or some floating mellotron. Or maybe all of this gets thrown into one big smoothie and the music suddenly feels like it's swimming. I simply adore it. I also am completely smitten by the agitation style of Rote Flocken, that incorporates these German military vocals into a porous and psychedelic piece of Krautrock. And let's not forget about the fabulous Wald that hypnotizes you with it's lengthy stroboscopic washes of worming guitar-riffing.

In fact, I find it very hard not rating this with a full 5 stars, but somehow the length of nearly 80 minutes does amount to the tiniest of dents in the armour. So consider this the biggest 4 stars you'll ever encounter. I'm talking 4.99999999999999 here people!

This album is however a brilliant exhibition of modern Krautrock. It is psychedelic, brooding, heavy, lethargic, simple, oscillating, effervescent, floating, relaxing, sloshing, hypnotic and very much in tune with its forbears - yet without ever resolving to borrow anything directly from them. Morbus feels original and like it was conceived in a musical Zoo with lions, tigers and lizards all over the place, if only to rub off that fickle and fleeting animal essence to the proceedings - you know the part of music that makes us into reptiles and humans all at the same time.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |

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