Review: Alejandro Morse – Aftermath

DRAGON’S EYE.

The surface of Aftermath is crusted and cracked. Rock ruptured by the upward thrust of magma flow. Electronics glow along the fracture lines – synthesised strings, choral pulses – while a thick distortion smothers and presses down. Pocks and protrusions emerge as these vertical forces exploit the weak spots in either direction, with keyboards cracking into static as the landscape throbs, both fluid like the sea and aridly earthen in texture. While 34 minutes seems fleeting, there are moments where Aftermath feels like a 60-minute opus crushed into a smaller temporal casing. Beautiful atmospherics buckle as the pressure mounts on all sides, forced to share space with scorched interference and throttling low frequencies. Melodies such as the shimmering alternation on “Heated, Polluted” seem to yearn to burst outward in all directions yet remain trapped at the centre, quivering as they fail to push the noise back. At other points tonality is bent out of shape entirely, and there’s the sense that the howling organs of “Litmus Smog” were harmonically picturesque before the avalanche of feedback squashed them flat. The real power of Aftermath is in its untenability; this amalgam of rumble and fizz and resonance can only hold together for so long, with each track fadeout marking the collapse of each fleeting equilibrium.