Thomas Wydler & Toby Dammit
In reading about music for a long time now, I've come across many references that make fun of drummers. Indeed, when I do a search for 'drummer jokes' on the internet, the ensuing results pages give one a huge depth of insults in order to crack wise about the person handling the sticks. It seems a bit odd to me considering that the only drummers I've ever known personally have been hyper-intelligent people, but the primal drummer still seems to be a recepticle for a large amount of humour. I suppose that with vocal representitives like Tommy Lee getting all the attention, the stereotypes are bound to continue.
I mention all of the above because Morphosa Harmonia is the meeting of the minds of two drummers. Thomas Wydler has been an acclaimed drummer for some time now, putting in time with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Die Haut while Toby Dammit has played with everyone from Iggy Pop to the Swans (among others). Dammit has apparently been very busy in the past year, as he was one-half of the recent bizarre Luther & Toby release Karny Sutra (also released on Hit Thing).
Morphosa Harmonia is at the same time both what you might expect from a couple drummers and also completely different. The opening part of the disc moves like a weird Pacific-rim nightmare as polyrhythms mingle with quiet chimes and 'la-la' vocals (courtesy of Dammit) that seem more menacing than lighthearted. The first third or so of the release really doesn't even go much of anywhere, as all the songs sort of have similar structures and components, but the group finally seems to bust loose a little bit about halfway through with "The Great Lie" as heavier drums bang away while electronics gurgle and basslines growl. In terms of song structure, very few tracks follow any sort of traditional layout, and yet while both of the main musicians behind the release are drummers, there almost seems to be a conscious effort to focus a bit less on the drums themselves.
The group at least partially keeps the pace quickened, and it's a welcome change as "Mr. Knock Up" again rolls with heavy polyrhythms and weird, filtered tribal-sounding vocals while "La Fabbrica Politicia" drops a super-juicy synth layer (courtesy of Beate Bartel of Liaisons Dangereuses) over something that sounds like bossa nova versus horror-movie soundtrack. Once again, the artwork of the release is very nice, with psychedelic watercolors of nude women juxtaposed with somewhat freaky felines filling 18 pages of liner notes in a nice digipack. Musically, the album is a headtrip that fits the , and while it seems to alternately find it's groove and then meander off again, it might be the perfect soundtrack to a sleazy bachelor pad.