Timeline Music

Morphology – Horta Proxima (Firescope Records)

Morphology – Horta Proxima (Firescope Records)

Overview: Few names in electro bring as much excitement to everyone as when Morphology is mentioned. And when a new full album is announced it adds even more fuel to that fire. Titled 'Horta Proxima', this is their second full length to come on Steve Rutter's highly touted Firescope label and their 4th overall. Morphology is two members from Finland; Matti Turunen & Michael Diekmann. Morphology in the last 10+ years has seen them put out some of the most futuristic electro in the scene. Each new release is highly regarded and beloved by their fans, DJ's and collectors alike. As the years have passed, they continue to evolve their sounds with more equipment, more experience, more quality and more influence to others.

The Music:

1. 'Binary Star' begins the album with some fine experimentation of rhythm's and chords. Melody seems to be a focus in the evolution of their two Firescope albums. Everything while aggressive, are on the warmer side of electronics. Even the harsher sounding elements seem tempered by plenty of warmth and juxtapositions.

While I would say this is dub techno or really electro it seems to be influenced more heavily by an idm theory of rhythm. A good introduction into the rest of the album sound wise. 3/5

2. Next comes 'Photosphere', and we get down to business. You knew it was coming. Those big sounding bass growls of a killer Morphology track. Also, that signature step skip in the beat pattern that brings the serious electro funk they do so well. Instead of continuing to build it to a peak this one lays in the shadows swirling around with it's melody dipped in a sci-fi language. 4/5

3. 'Digitalis' follows with a skittering beat reminiscent of a Monolake type track off Gravity but much heavier. The mood is serious but still has a clever wonderment about it. A mysterious feeling that makes you succumb to the direction they are taking you. In the second stanza the electro funk settles in for a nice funky ride. 4/5

4. 'Rustbelt' begins with the most electro sounding beginning yet. Crunching beats push the envelope but then step aside to feature a brilliant melody flying overhead. Otherworldly is an understatement. This brings vivid descriptions of that world to my imagination. The last third of the track is a good beat workout eventually leading to what sounds like a robot eventually turning off by a command from its owner. 4/5

5. 'Parsec' builds with a broken drum section filled with sound effects until it all combines to be a busy energy of serious electro business. Some of these tracks take a few listens before the direction can be fully experienced. Just so much going it is sensory overload. Futuristic electro sounds like a timid description to what's going on here. 4/5

6. The last track of the first half is 'Luminous Entity'. Things take a break here energy wise as a space opera gives you time to breath. If only for a minute. This is the first sign of a traditional acid line being featured. And quite the acid line it is too that comes together with a sick beat. My favorite track so far but the shortest. Too bad for me. 5/5

7. 'Aphelion' is a sharp track and one of the most accessible on first listen. It clearly has the makings of the most standout and cohesive more linear techno track but still edges the electro genre mainly. Crystalized elements shimmer off a skittering rocky beat landscape while the melody is at high altitude over the terrain reigning supreme. A fine track and sure to be one of the favorites among the listeners. 4/5

8. Next, we have 'Downlink' with its most idm sounding broken beat in the album. It also has the release's most adventurous bassline that carries the theme away from being an idm sounding one. A solid sounding track but feels like a little bit of an album filler after a few excellent ones in a row. 3/5

9. 'Triangulum' is like a more traditional track of theirs with the bassline being the main driving force behind this scientific sounding romp. The strings make their appearance half way thru the track as they ease out through the tension to the break. The last section hones in the sounds to a satisfying conclusion. 4/5

10. 'Shadows from the Past' has one of the roughest beats on the album. Acid lines are used in conjunction with the bassline leaving a devastating trail while the percussion supports everything wonderfully. Another futuristic burner that is not for the light hearted. 4/5

11. 'Multiplex' is the second break to catch your breath on this album. Again, only for a minute as then one the fastest broken beats take aim your senses. Beautiful keys christen the track while the space wobble gets more intense through the middle track playing games with your equilibrium. One of the standout melodies of the album for me and a blistering dark energy supports it appropriately through the stratosphere. 5/5

12. The title track completes the album on a wonderful high of what could be the next stage in their evolution. An amazing beatless ender that is sure to give goosebumps. 5/5

Synapse: 'Horta Proxima' is certainly a strong album. As a longtime fan of theirs I may be one of their toughest critics. Their last album 'Traveler', is certainly a hard one to top. I think more time listening and down the line time will tell which is better more accurately. While Traveller has more standout's it does seem more like a singles collection then this one cohesively. In this album the tracks support the entire theme better but I can't say I am rewinding several repeatedly like I was with Traveller. The sounds are better overall, I think but the beats aren't as standout as the last. However, these will even get better with time while I think Traveller may not. These are blurring the lines between techno and electro more than any other previous Morphology album has. The beats are firmer, the energy is more honed in and the percussion is as succinct as ever. Melodics are less icy then previous albums but more fantasy-like. Even a touch whimsical at times which adds to the character of the theme. While the dancefloor feels farther away with Horta Proxima, this sounds more mature than anything previously.

Rating 85/100 - review by Tim Humphrey aka TIM aka errorsinspace

The Details: Artist: Morphology Title: Horta Proxima Label: Firescope Records Format: Vinyl / CD / Digital Catalog #: FS024 Released: September 28th, 2020 Artwork: Mass Roman