- In his review of Spit, the debut full-length from L.I.E.S. label boss Ron Morelli, Andrew Ryce wrote that the producer's "antagonistically unpolished" aesthetic left some of the pieces feeling "frustratingly unfinished." Barely six months have passed since Spit's release, and Morelli has already returned to Dominick Ferrow's Hospital label with the eight-track mini-album Periscope Blues. But the quick turnover doesn't mean Morelli was careless in the course of its creation—on the contrary, his greatest strength on Periscope Blues is a painstaking attention to detail.
The title track, for example, is powerful for its simplicity. It's hewn solely from bubbles of sound and occasional reverberating synth notes, but its careful editing and mixing gives depth to the stripped-down arrangement, so that each pop echoes in the empty space. Likewise, on "Director Of," Morelli scrupulously assembles a small number of components—in this case, two voices and a barely-there tape machine blip are molded into a rhythmic acappella reminiscent of Steve Reich. It doesn't make for good background music because the voices are cut up into barely-incomprehensible sentences, and it's hard to hear the mangled words without trying to decipher them.
Periscope Blues is decidedly more abstract than the grimy techno beats on Spit. Aside from "Lone Navigator," none of the cuts on this record have a kick drum—most of them, like "Periscope Blues" and "Director Of," only hint at rhythm with subtle tricks. The tempo is easy to follow on "Signal Jam," because clashing hi-hats fall on every 1/8th note, but others are less straightforward. On "Island Bore," one of the most arresting cuts here, bony clicks and dusty strings keep time as the track builds to a croaking din. It's hard to imagine that Morelli threw a track like this together—every noise is unusual, as if the sounds he wanted to use didn't exist in the real world until he spent hours crafting them by hand.
01. Alone On The Beach (Beach Mix)
02. Periscope Blues (Version)
04. Island Bore
05. Signal Jam
06. Lone Navigator
07. Director Of (A Capella)
08. Slowly Losing Sight