Mo Morris – alongside studio partner Zeben Jameson – raises, rebuilds, A Mountain Of One, and releases the outfit`s first new material in over a decade. During the pandemic the pair have bounced musical and visual ideas back and forth between Bali and London, which will bear full fruit later this year, early next, as a long-player, and an ambitious virtual reality project / experience, entitled NYX VX. The single, Custard`s Last Stand, meanwhile, launches the duo’s label, Amore.
The spacey synth-pop song features fragile wistful vocals, double-tracked in places by vocoder treatments, and shaken in others by shuddering, menacing sub-bass. Similar, to my ears at least, to Underworld`s more traditionally, `60s influenced, non-trance, psychedelic moments, in its second-half the tune heads straight into the cosmic as that vocoder-ed doppleganger takes over. On the flip you’ll find Stars Planets Dust Me – also the title of that forthcoming album – which begins with its protagonist trying to catch his breath. There is no air out in orbit. The piece itself is Eno-influenced, art, almost operatic rock. A beatless prog ballad, strung-out, shining, in Screamadelica`s universe / substance-frazzled firmament, whose folk phrasings are set to icy arrangements of piano and synth call-and-response.
A 10” will follow this 12, boasting some, believe me, brilliant reworks from Dennis “Blackbeard” Bovell. The legendary, undeniable, dubmaster doing his thing. His Dubfinity bi-di-versions fragmenting AMO`s original falsetto into sorta shoegaze-esque harmonies, serene comet tail shards, over a relentlessly delayed drum machine rhythm, and refocusing on a new, live, bass-line. Dropping the kick into deep, cavernous, echo. Bovell himself supplying a fresh freestyle, in gruff Prince Far I fashion. Barking wisdom in short soundbytes…
“No tweets”, “No cheats”, “No Lying”, No more back-biting”, “Ain`t no Trump no more”.
The mixing desk mayhem increasing in intensity, generating its own gravity, spinning the track free, far from classification. Revisiting post-punk`s cultural / musical melting pot, something Dennis did so much to help create. I’m not sure if he’s saying “Light must dawn”, or “Life must go on” – both, either, is damn fine with me.
Mastered by Ricardo Villalobos, A Mountain Of One`s Custard`s Last Stand is available to order from a variety of platforms and stores care of the band`s label, Amore. The physical release is due at the end of August. Watch out for those terrific Dennis Bovell takes.