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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MORPHEUSZ: Garden Gnomes and Goblins (2011)

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

Here’s the album by where the story of MorPheuSz began

1 Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 4 (15:50)

2 Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 2 (10:34)

3 Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 9 (10:55)

4 Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 1000-1 (15:11)

5 Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 7 (5:33)

6 Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part Who Cares!! (5:58)

7 Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part Pizza!! (13:56)

(CD/DDL 77:50) (V.F.)

(Progressive EM, Berlin School)

Here's the album by whom the story of MorPheuSz began. Invited to give an intimate concert on July 17, 2010, Ron Boots received the support of his long-time companions, Harold and Eric van der Heijden. During the rehearsal process an invitation was sent to Frank Dorittke. But MorPheuSz was not yet born. It was during this concert that the quartet noticed the chemistry was taking place between them. And it was after this concert that the band was born. GARDEN GNOMES AND GOBLINS refers to this concert given in a garden. It's the very first work of MorPheuSz which merges an EM with a progressive and psychedelic side and where improvisation is in the foreground on structures with atmospheres subjected to good Arab tribal rhythms.

A submerged cave atmosphere floods our ears from the opening of Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 4. Keyboard chords and guitar notes drag their loneliness along scattered percussions sounding like crippled hooves in dark winds which are hooting along cavernous walls. Between its canvas of mystery and its cerebral uncertainty, Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 4 strolls in search of a rhythm, losing its textures and its roaring composite tones under the stammering of timid toms-toms. And these toms-toms awaken a rhythm with the scents of Middle-Orient that a soft Mellotron envelops with a psychedelic balm, giving the music a more progressive approach than electronic with keyboard chords which exchange a lunar melody with notes of a dreamy guitar. A movement of the sequencer skips like Indian toms-toms under reverberations which croak with a sinister air, awakening Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 2. Percussions with sparse strikes and guitar riffs accompany this uncertain rhythm which is flown over by very nice solos of a synth which gradually recovers its identity. Percussion plays a preponderant role on this title. They fall and roll like avalanches on a structure which becomes tightly wrapped up by these solos of the synth which also releases layers of mist. This casts a more electronic veil on a track that breathes just as much of the more psychedelic and progressive atmospheres of Ashra, especially with the riffs of a guitar that scrapes the back of howling winds a little after the 7th minute. The more we move in the album, the more we feel the electronic vice tightening the artistic values of the quartet.

Thus, Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 9 takes the form of a bewitching dreamlike structure with slamming percussions, sparkling arpeggios, dreamy guitar riffs as well as ethereal choruses and mists which envelop a slow contemplative tempo, a little like on Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part Pizza !!. The keyboard chords wander on this dreamy structure, floating here and there and embracing harmonic notes from a guitar which roll in loops on a silk road. With its very orchestral Vangelis-style intro, where violins weave tendencies of tenderness and synths mold impulses of melancholy, Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 1000-1 flows in our ears like a good Arab procession. This is 15 minutes of pure happiness with tribal percussions and bass pulsations which lay the foundations of a flexible and delicately entertaining rhythm while the synths draw sieved sails from the East, numbing the senses and weakening the emotions on a lascivious cerebral dance. It's very beautiful and above all very poetic. After a very atmospheric Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 7 with its riffs and guitar chords that surf in the shadow of synth layers, Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part Who Cares !! continues with a more gloomy approach where the notes of electric piano stroll with a scent of sadness on an ambivalent structure supported by tom-tom percussions and riffs of a solitary guitar. Cavernous winds draw the introduction of Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part Pizza!!. Ambient and enveloping, the synth layers float like shadows of prey above the percussions which are lost in this absolute tranquility. And quietly the rhythm rises up. It's heavy and slow, like a cosmic blues where the short guitar solos are encircled in narrow layers of morphic synth while the percussion strikes widen the difference between the ambient and the morphic rhythm.

Shy and subdued, the quartet experiences its orientations and its ambiences throughout GARDEN GNOMES AND GOBLINS; an album aimed at quieter EM fans who have a penchant for progressive music with a zest of well-structured improvisation. I quite liked this gentle foray into these Arab tribal vibes. It's very romantic and poetic, especially Garden Gnomes and Goblins Part 1000-1 which is by far the most beautiful track here. Harold van der Heijden's percussions are delicious and heighten the interest of our ears while the synths weave subdued murmurs of an astonishing poetry for a concert performance, even an intimist one. At the end, it's a good album which establishes the beginnings of the excellent Days of Delirium & Nocturnal NightMares and which shows above all the real chemistry between these 4 knights of electronic art.

Sylvain Lupari (March 14th, 2012) ***¾**

Available at Groove NL

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