Gate is the name used for the Dead C’s Michael Morley’s solo output. A few years ago I was lucky enough to get a copy of his remarkable electronica infused record, Republic of Sadness. That record was a strange yet totally compelling blend of Morley’s wonky, codeine-infused, lo-fi vocals with almost Hot Chip style electronica. On paper it shouldn’t have worked but it was one of my favourite records of 2010. The excellent Mie Music have taken it upon themselves to re-release The Dew Line which originally came out in 1994 and is a very different from his most recent work. Mie Music have put a lot of thought into rereleasing this record and it now appears as a double vinyl set, remastered, with its initial seven tracks expanded to twelve to include some other previously unreleased material recorded about the same time. If you are a Dead C fan there is a treat in store with the unreleased tracks because three of them ended up as Dead C tracks including the almighty Bitcher (from 1995’s Whitehouse)yet on The Dew Line appear in a prototype form. This record has a great deal in common with the Dead C’s material from the same time period which I have always considered to be among their best. The Dew Line find Morley exploring his repetitive guitar lines and outsider vocals which no one could mistake for anybody else. Yet throughout these utterly unique songs there are glimmers of Sonic Youth style tunings and even a little Pavement-like song craft. Beyond those thoughts it very difficult to describe this claustrophobic, chaotic, almost on the brink of collapse experimental rock music. It is music that has to be experienced to appreciate and I recommend you do just that. The Dew Line is an absolute pleasure from beginning to end and is well worth tracking down in it’s remastered form.
Archive for the Gate Category
From the outset I should tell you that Gate is the side project of one Michael Morley who you may know from his other band, The Dead C. This is being released in a week or so on vinyl by the always excellent Ba Da Bing records. I managed to snag a review copy a couple of weeks ago and well let me put it this way; what would you expect from a record by a bloke from the Dead C. Some avant garde, lo fi, rock experimentation perhaps? Well so did I. This is the first time I’ve heard a Gate record and what I wasn’t fucking expecting is an album of downbeat, popish electronica. The first time I played this I was walking around my neighbourhood late at night. When the music started, it took me by surprise so much that I checked my ipod to see that I hadn’t inadvertently started some Hot Chip record or something. Seriously. There are some genuinely funky beats in here especially on the third track Desert which had some major f.u.n.k. going on and the final track Trees which sounds like that overtly sentimental, continental techno so beloved by Germans. But you know its Michael Morley because that voice weaves in and out of the tracks like a confused dementia patient on codeine and jam. The lyrics, when I was able to pick them out, bring a melancholic edge to the whole thing. It’s hard to shake you ass when Morley sings about being unable to stop war and something about corruption.
So how am I really supposed to take this? Is it some post modern examination of the shallowness of body music or is it a record by a genuine fan of pop and beat looking for an outlet? In the end I don’t think it matters because I enjoyed this so much I’m worried by noise cred might be at an end. Republic of Sadness is all loops, pop, beats, a smattering of drone and that voice. It’s the most depressing time you’ll ever have shaking your ass.