Into the Light

UK-based Croatian artist chops a myriad influences into a truly strange brew, finds Daniel Hignell

Somebody somewhere has lost their prized compendium of questionable coffee-table jazz. Morwell just found it and broke it. Into the Light offers up a strangely post-human mash-up of contemporary culture’s disparate strands, filtering saxophone lilt through janky, repetitive rhythms, keyboard demo presets brushing up against Boards of Canada slowcore, spring-reverb guitars loosely jamming over a distant memory of Fugazi, a world of club-adjacent moroseness narrated by a hundred scattered ghosts.

Under it’s hood, Into the Light is a simple affair. Its tracks consist of musical ideas drawn from mismatched genres weaved together with cut-up vocal samples. In its least interesting moments, the result is a well-constructed, charismatic stroll through the weird end of late 90s electronica; at its best (and the album is, admittedly, a bit front-loaded), Morwell conjures a wonderfully bizarre sonic soup that escapes definition altogether. Tracks like ‘Another World’ are fairly mundane: tame stabs at minimal dance music, clad in a pleasantly subdued gloom. Others, like ‘Nothing’, begin with a seemingly tried and tested idea, but then jump ship, juxtaposing the recognizable with the obscure: a two-minute battle between looped fragments of some charity-shop samba and decaying, time-stretched vocals. If you only listen to one track, stick on ‘Last Thoughts’, a confusing rumination on death with an almost post-punk vibe, complete with fragments of almost ska-like horns. A lesson in incongruity.

Despite the snatches of danceable rhythms and the borderline-cheesy vocal snippets, Into the Light strays pretty far from most contemporary club music. It’s as if the album exists in its own unique hamlet and only accesses existing culture through the portal of a static-ridden short-wave radio set. It might come across as a little off-putting, annoying even, but it nonetheless offers something more: a genuinely eclectic approach to deconstruction that is often far too interesting for you to actually want to dance to it.

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