i’ve never quite made sense of new zealand noise rock band the dead c, although there’s always been something special about their dense, lo-fi ethic that keeps me listening, even if mostly in cycles of puzzlement and struggle. yet, perhaps most of the music we’re used to today has made things too easy, too digestible, and way too pleasant that we end up missing the process of actually listening for ourselves. what the dead c brings to all of this is a much needed discomfort and dissonance, a breach in the limits of musical acceptability.
gate, the sometimes-collaborative project of dead c frontman michael morley, sounds much easier on the ears, owing to morley’s surprising dedication to electronic ambience and rhythm. however, you’d still have to work hard in listening to republic of sadness, which features morley’s vocals – sometimes mournful, often frighteningly droning – as a constant foil to the inviting, primitive beats. patience, though, can be rewarding, as in “wilderness” which starts off simply enough as a potential screamadelica candidate before morphing spectacularly into both an awakening monster and the soundtrack to its sporadic, pent up existence. – dan.
mp3: gate – wilderness
republic of sadness, gate’s first album in a decade, is out now on our favorite ba da bing! records.