CD, Tympanik Audio, 2011
Displacer, a.k.a. Michael Morton, is back at it with his latest album through Tympanik Audio, following his 2009 release, “X was Never Like This”. As one of my favourite go to artists for recommendations on good IDM, I am delighted to see that he strives to remain among the best of his scene with “Night Gallery”.
While not so much a club affair, the album has excellent rhythm and pacing, making an exemplary urban soundtrack, yet managing to shine even further with the attention that a dedicated listening can provide.
The exquisite drum work functions both as a drive for tracks like “Phantom Limb” while also forming the lattice that provides an unexpected yet welcome solidity to the more abstract soundscapes of the second track, “Invisible”. These shifts stand out in “Radioactive”, where the seamless morphing between rhythms is paced and marked by the drums that accompany the overall sounds of the track. “Orchid” and “Ghost Flower” are much calmer affairs, offering a cooler air of mystery with their dark undertones that often are a signature of Displacer’s sound.
On the contrary, “In Limbo” capitalizes on this darkness, providing the listener with a short yet fascinating interlude between the somewhat dramatic synth performances of aforementioned “Ghost Flower” and “Awakening”. “Falling” follows suit, in a deviation from the overall sound, courtesy of the lyrics and vocals provided by Downhouse as well as the more oppressive beat that forms this synthpop track.
Finally, while plain in comparison to the rest of the album, “Ice Cold” still manages to convey a melancholy of sound that is only fitting for the listener, as he is hit with the realization that the album, as with all things, must come to an end.. .
A truly magnificent piece of work, “Night Gallery” is one record that Displacer should be proud to call his own.
— George Mouratidis