Ron Morelli - Disappearer

  • Compelling noise techno from the L.I.E.S. boss.
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  • There's a reason why Ron Morelli became the patron saint of techno punks. For the better part of the last decade, he's championed a straight-to-tape sound that rejects many of electronic music's orthodoxies. With their tendency towards primitive machinery, unfussy sound design and a xeroxed zine aesthetic, Morelli and his L.I.E.S. label seem to hinge on a disavowal of conventional expertise. At times he could appear more concerned with flipping a middle finger than with releasing music people want to listen to. But Disappearer, his third album, is full of musical substance as well as that fuck-you attitude, making it one of his best releases in recent memory. You could even call Disappearer polished by Morelli's standards. Sure, it's full of distorted textures and harsh metallic sounds, but there are also some club tracks that won't clear the dance floor. "Laugh Taker," a killer seven-minute stretch of hissing drums, will get a crowd moving, and it could even play well with more functional high-tempo techno. "Re-Runs" gets an enticing groove going with syncopated hi-hats and toms, but, as usual, Morelli refuses to placate us with a four-to-the-floor kick drum. On "Disappearer," he shrieks over a 100-BPM beat that, in its own dark and twisted way, almost resembles dancehall. There are moments when Morelli turns the chaos dial up a little. On "Hole In The Head," his mumbling gets caught in the violent feedback loop of a delay pedal, making for a kind of nightmare dub effect over hammering kick drums. "Border Dust (202 Version)" is one of the crunchiest cuts here, with the distortion applied so thick that the contours start to cave in. The rhythmic tracks are complemented by some richly detailed synth experiments. You could easily imagine the creeping, dissonant drones of "AM Drowner" as the soundtrack to one of Lars Von Trier's more irksome film scenes. "Men Visible From Window" is pretty disturbing too, its bowed-metal synths layered with distant screams for help. In interviews Morelli has used the term "stress music" to describe what he does—"that energy can be used in many ways, positive and negative," he told XLR8R. On Disappearer he successfully metabolizes that stress, using it to fuel the sense of urgency that pulls you in and keeps you in its grip.
  • Tracklist
      01. Narco 02. Laugh Taker 03. Hellgate Bridge 04. FXK Ripper 05. Golden Oldies 06. Re-Runs 07. Hole In The Head 08. Border Dust (202 Version) 09. Disappearer 10. AM Drowner 11. Men Visible From Window 12. Snow On The Headstone 13. Squeeze