by Ethan Swan

Morr Music Tour

Fri Nov 28


The critical moment on B. Fleischmann's new LP Welcome Tourist is during the song "Le Desir" (originally released as an instrumental by Portland's own Audio Dregs). The first lines lead us down a typical dreamy pop vision as it asks "Have you ever been on a little star to see the world from the outside?" And as soon as I start to feel like I'm 17 years old hearing Stereolab or Laika for the first time, the words take a radical turn as the distant voice begins to ask, "Did you ever think of the type of things that would bring equality?" Now, that may not be the most challenging political thought, but taken in context it makes for a serious interruption.

B. Fleischmann's gentle melodies and soft edges are comforting, disarming, and some listeners take that lightly, playing the record while doing the dishes or laying down for a nap. So when that voice makes a modest swell during the chorus and sings, "there's more to life than the everyday routine" it can be just as indicting as it is uplifting. But there's a further revolution going on between these notes.

The artists on Morr Music are mostly in their late 20s--they grew up with Sonic Youth and Unrest records, but at the same time they witnessed the explosion of hiphop and techno. Where a lot of people love Daydream Nation so much they start a band to sound just like it, B. Fleischmann and Ms. John Soda are more interested in matching the achievement than the sound. Nothing is off-limits in this attempt--asymmetrical rhythms march out of laptops, delicate tunes chirp inside analog synths, field recordings wind in between notes, and electric guitars make a play at relevance. Today's devotion to the past is romantic, but it isn't such a good thing when current music--electro, no wave, emo, rock and roll--betrays its oldness in name alone. Through with digging in the past for inspiration or justification, the musicians represented by Morr Music instead aspire to see the world from the outside and return with something new.