ABSURDIST THEATER: Los Angeles-based kissed her little sister’s (aka Jeffrey Morisano) debut album, “HIGHandLOW”, is a multifarious mix of scorching electro, guitar, and wild samples. His free 15-track record is a chameleon of an album. It features one song sampling bass and lyrics from Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”. There are absurdly comedic and playful Beck-like lyrics: “I am Ben Franklin / I am standing in the shower / I am covered in cold water / I prefer to drip dry.” The song “born again” ponders this odd-ball dietary concern, “I’ve been born again / I’ve been wonderin’ / If your eyes would taste good, in my mouth / With sauerkraut.” Morisano’s grasp of layering, mood, and rhythm is so impressive — whether it’s by adding arcane sound snippets in the spacey soul-infused “i don’t want you”, incorporating phone-ring recordings or a sudden inclusion of ukulele.
He lists his sound as “concrete” on his Bandcamp page, a style of music which has 1940s French composer and music theorist Pierre Schaffer as its precursor. Schaffer is an interesting antecedent, his ideas of music circling around playful creation, found-sound manipulations and creating musical veneers like the muffled vocals of Morisano’s “discoteque dialect”. There are inventive disparate elements on this album, like the rough-guitar strum of “get out of my head woman”; aspects of infectious foolery in the luxuriously sung lyrics of a groove-soaked “miracle mile”: ” “Who wants the car keys / Riding on a miracle mile / We like the palm trees, / and the heretic style … / Let me clear my throat / I am a human being / And it’s in my genes / I’m a love machine … / I wanna lock you in my room / Smoke marijuana in sleepy afternoon. / I wanna lay my burden down / In the fertile ground / Of the sunshine town.”
There’s even a 60s nostalgia in some of these songs, with traces of Marshall McLuhan’s “the media is the message”, in a cut like “my dreams are televisions” — a track built on top of beat-box distortion and a slow-drag vocal delivery. You hear a record like this and it makes you wonder where in the world Morisano comes from, and how the creative process of these songs manifests itself. You can’t post one song and say, “This is what this album sounds like”. It just doesn’t work that way. Take the song “baby love”, which begins with a creepily slowed vocal track, and an eerie buzz transitioning into angelic chorals, organ synth, and soulful high-falsetto vocals, before turning dark again with the spoken-word sample of a man declaring, “Vampires in our town. Terrible town!”
The sheer creativity of this record will blow you away. Don’t let the above academic descriptions scare you off, this music is meant to be enjoyed simply for the chaotic and undomesticated genius that it is. Truly unreal. Note: Art is manipulated from images at band’s MySpace page. — David D. Robbins Jr.