Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Night Gallery - Displacer
SCQ Rating: 79%
Some artists thrive on an uphill challenge; as if Night Gallery wasn’t enough of an evocative title, Displacer’s cover-art offers a display of constellations and star clusters dazzling just beyond our evening’s atmosphere. Without even a whimper heard from composer Michael Morton concerning his record’s context or inspiration, it’s been unanimously decided: Night Gallery will delve into and soundtrack the nocturnal spirit or die trying.
Luckily for us demanding electronic fans, Displacer doesn’t let glossy images and sleek titles do the talking. Instead, the Toronto-based producer enunciates the shifting moods of night through the parlance of IDM filtered with Tympanik’s reputably kinetic beat-work. Early highlight ‘Invisible’ loops serene ambience into a textured break-beat whilst ‘Radioactive’ lends a more progressive techno rhythm to those transient night vapors. Despite its propulsive demeanor, Night Gallery is most fascinating for its temperament, which soaks up the mystique of dusk without leaning on creepiness or paranoia. Its lovely attributes – as when ‘Orchid’ settles like a bass-heavy Four Tet track – interplay with Displacer’s bolder beats in a way that nods to both the anticipation and tranquility of darkness.
Displacer’s tightrope walk between muscle and gracefulness encounters the odd stumble – like the awkwardly late introduction of vocals in the record’s last quarter – but there’s value in an artist who doesn’t rest on their laurels. In a more successful turn, ‘Ice Cold’ turns to effect-drenched guitar in a bid to lionize the finale’s throbbing undulations. It works beautifully and proves that playing marvelously within the confines of IDM styled electronica is often better than trying to breach the subgenre’s limitations.