Ever since hearing Lovecraftsmanship and reviewing it on the website, I’ve been hooked on his work. There is something so fresh about his production style and the fact that his drums are well layered and intricate. In my review of Lovecraftmanship, I compared him to DJ Shadow and J Dilla. I stand by those claims simply based on his crafting of a beat, but he takes it in a direction much more akin to Flying Lotus and his style of production. When Morti re-released Sleep Deprived Pessimist, I was excited to hear what he had to say, and to say I was surprised was an understatement.
Revisiting the debut
The Nautilus Edition is in reference to the fact that Morti reissued his debut album. This is a full remaster, rework and remix of the album. He ended up reprogramming the entire album after having lost his masters. Throughout this entire album, Morti flips shoegaze samples into something so much more. He is able to take the spacey effects and out of this world vibes that shoegaze provided and put trip hop drums behind it to create a landscape larger than the sample itself. This album provides a great window into Morti and his production style. You start to see how he would develop his style over the years. Despite this album being a debut album, it sounds like a project done by someone who has been producing for years and has multiple projects under his belt
In Depth Analysis:
Intros are important. They let you know the tone of the album. Morti doesn’t take this notion lightly at all with “Introphophagus”. It feels dark and dusty, like you’re in a dark alleyway late at night and something is about to pop off. Ominous in a way. That feeling carries right on over to “Night Light Medicine”, a track that feels like an even later night time drive on a highway with no one around. The ambiance and space that Morti creates with these shoegaze samples is fantastic and is driven by the drums and fuzzed out guitar chords. “Swervedrummer” has a 90’s vibe to it drum wise, but is layered exceptionally well. Throughout the project, you’ll hear Morti really layer the beats and remove other parts, making each song feel like a moving machine.
The high octane from “Swervedrummer” is than brought down to a very modest tempo with a great groove in the form of “Ornithopter Crash”. You’re transported to a bar in the middle of nowhere with tumbleweeds and swinging wooden doors and creaky wooden floors. It would fit a dystopian world, and perhaps, that was the very vibe he wanted. “Mother of Tears” is the one track I feel removes you from this constant barrage of rhythm and sound. It sits you down and tells you to relax, to take a deep breath and rest. You are then pulled from your slumber by “No Sleep Til Salem” the final track on Side A. It’s a slow jam that perfectly encapsulates that woozy state you can get into from lack of sleep. It can only go up from here
The B side of this album opens up with “Infected Hair” a tune that is filled with emotion when you listen to it closer. At first, it feels like a piece about loss and emptiness, but at times it feels hopeful. Morti does a fantastic job with his synth work and LFO’s. He makes the present, sometimes in the front of the mix, but doesn’t let them overtake the song. Morti then starts to ramp things up with “Afraid of the Sun”, a track with a beautifully ghosted snare drum that really makes the track bounce. Morti’s synth in this track is reminiscent of U2 and their spacey feel. It’s buildup at the 2 and a half minute mark with the crash cymbal stripped of it’s low end really adds tension to an otherwise peaceful track.
“Chimere” returns you to a vibe of the night life, a feel of a good night that could go wrong, but won’t. Now there won’t be missteps in that night, as evident by the stressful drum fill half way through the song, but the night should go on without a hitch. The final two tracks of this album “Ornithopter Ride” and “Diving Slowly” could kind of be grouped together. They both have a very similar harsh synth to it, but like everything else on this album, is backed by a solid groove. “Diving Slowly” in particular is interesting to me because of Morti’s previous work. Is this perhaps a song that is meant to be the beginning of a previous album of his “Lovecraftsmanship”? Does it lead into the album? Has he been pulling the long con this entire time? Hmm….
In all seriousness, this entire album is brilliant. Morti has had a fantastic run with his 3 projects to date. If you haven’t checked out his work, check it here and see it. He’s done soundtracks, albums, and other projects. I’d definitely like to see him tackle a new emotion and feeling with his next work, perhaps more melody based since his groove is top notch!