Displacer :: Foundation (Hymen)

A mixture of solids, liquids and opaque gases, each piece rattles effortlessly as a series of ingredients melt together in a fuzzy subatomic layer. Submerging ambience, rugged beats and smoldering bass, Foundation peals yet another layer of Displacer’s inspiring audio-visual skills.

Displacer ‘Foundation’

[Release page] I’ll step forward right now—a slight bias towards Michael Morton’s Displacer alias is ever present as you read these words. Without delving too far into Displacer’s recent history, it is safe to say he’s continued to expand upon chilled post-industrial trip hop iterations and has been featured on two heavyweight imprints such as M-Tronic and Tympanik Audio over the past decade. With 2011’s Night Gallery (Tympanik Audio) the “post-industrial insignia associated with Displacer is stripped away in place of a more plasmic flow of evolved production skills.” This is the case on his latest album signed to Germany’s highly-regarded Hymen Records. With Foundation being his eight offering for fellow inhabitants of this circular cosmic spot, how has the artist pushed forward—if at all—with Foundation?

Perhaps the most accomplished album to date, Foundation is an apt title that digs several feet below the surface to inspect the infrastructure of Displacer’s sound collage. A mixture of solids, liquids and opaque gases, each piece rattles effortlessly as a series of ingredients melt together in a fuzzy subatomic layer. Submerging ambience, rugged beats and smoldering bass, Foundation peals yet another layer of Displacer’s inspiring audio-visual skills.

Opening with the bass-infused buzz of “Dark Star,” perhaps an ode to the classic film, the analog machinery is all tuned and ready for subsequent light rays of its adjacent audio entities. “Totality,” “Distress Call,” “Space Parts,” and “Outland”—which appeared on Tympanik Audio’s Emerging Organisms Volume 4 in 2011—are the crowning achievements. Each piece contains the splintered strands of Displacer’s DNA. Thick patches of percussion, rolling low-end rumblings and an industrial backbone has these tracks in fluid motion and flowing emotion. The twin peaks of “Ghosts Part 1″—a silent moving, invisible ambient piece—is offset with its “Part 2” counterpart displaying a droning guitar thread of stargazed lushness. These two pieces as well as the marching dynamics of “Moonrise,” the dub-techno thump of “Firebug,” to the brooding undercurrent of “Warbound” could perhaps ignite future album themes as they segue into shifting genres on Foundation.

But just as you begin to wrap your head and ears around the push-pull effect of Foundation‘s sonic pallet, “We’ll Watch It Burn” hints at a more relaxed shoegazed effort as does the closing atmospheric fog of “Leviathan.” Sandwiched inside these waves of mild turbulence you’ll find that “Red Sky” takes a simmering approach to the downbeat landscape—lightly weaving calmed percussion and emanating like the Casino Vs Japan’s classic Go Hawaii from a decade ago—its pseudo-Hawaiian rhythm burst is both enlightening and entrancing.

If the above-mentioned bias derails your intentions to snap up this gem, then I’m glad you read this entire review as Foundation is really stands on its own whether or not you’re familiar with Displacer’s body of work.

Foundation is available on Hymen. [Release page]

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