Displacer :: Electric Dreams (The Crime League)

An assured and mature sound that manages to rescue IDM from its solipsistic focus on conceptual electronica.

Displacer’s Electric Dreams is an often dark, moody and dystopian take on maximalist electronica. Combining the sounds of figures like the recently reappeared Tim Exile with a futuristic aesthetic, Displacer—Canadian producer Michael Morton—gives us eight tracks of his take on IDM. For Displacer’s differential factor is his fantastic use of live drums on his tracks. “Micro Chip Logic,” for instance, might as well be your run of the mill IDM track, but the drums offer a sense of lived transhumanist electronica dripping through the edges. Morton continues this onslaught of android voices mixed with potent beats all the way through tracks such as “Robot Satisfaction” and “The Ghost of You (I see).” All tracks are produced by Michael Morton with Electric double bass by UK collaborator Keef Baker.

Morton brings his A-game to personal favorite “Beast.” Barely an IDM track, “Beast” is better thought of as a drum session, even when synths and voices take over, the track’s leading instrument and scene-stealer are the drums. In any case, the complete and utter delight Morton gets out of of combining synths, vocals and live drumming is surely unmatched by anyone else in the IDM landscape. Morton’s gleeful employment of cathartic walls of sound shows up once again towards the end in both “Tarrasque” and “Man of the atom” both standout tracks that showcase what the man does best.

Despite being an EP, Electric Dreams feels much more like an LP. Morton’s is an assured and mature sound that manages to rescue IDM from its solipsistic focus on conceptual electronica. With Morton, IDM lives only by way of the lived experience of human drumming. In a year where many producers put their bets on robots, like, for example, Squarepusher, Morton’s take on IDM feels revitalizing.

Cover artwork inspiration appears to be from the upcoming Westworld TV series originally based on the 1973 film.

Electric Dreams is available on The Crime League.

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