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GATE - The Dew Line

Table Of The Elements

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Twenty years is long enough: Its time to acknowledge Michael Morley as an indie-rock patriarch. And why not? As the guitarist and vocalist for New Zealand noise-trip trio The Dead C and the man behind Gate (ostensibly a solo project, although Sonic Youths Lee Ranaldo makes frequent guest appearances), Morley is the rare artist that record-hounds love to unearth: an isotope in the body Pop, radiating an invisible influence. With scores of micro-batch releases and an unmistakably intimate performance idiom, Morley ranks in the company of Jandek or Loren Connors, but its geographic isolation rather than social disengagement that has deflected his work from reaching more ears. Still, if you dont recognize his name, youve heard his reverberations, in the ambient post-rock of Flying Saucer Attack and Labraford, the neo-psychedelia of Bardo Pond, and the fidelity-challenged whorl of Pavement and Sebadoh. Recorded in 1993 and out of print since, Gates The Dew Line is the first part of his rock trilogy (followed by The Monolake in 1996 and The Wisher Table in 1999). Rock it does. Typical Gate/Dead C no-fi guitar subduction and Morleys locked-in-the-car-trunk vocals are prominent, but theres also a hefty amount of scraping synthesizer menace and paleozoic riffage. The crust of noise is there, but crack open the sonic geode and youll discover some nifty songstyling. In someone elses universe, the gem of an opening track, Millions, gets play on AM radio, while Have Not climbs the FM charts. Full of brooding atmospherics, The Dew Line is the most -- dare we say it -- accessible of any of Morleys records, and it stands on an equal footing with his Dead C high-water mark, Harsh 70s Reality, as an anti-rock rock classic. - Table Of The Elements.

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