Michael Morley – Heavens Idleness Awaits (2019, Thin Wrist)
Tis’ little secret that in the deep cavernous vestibule of Marginal HQ, one can readily encounter a most solemn and rapturous hum, ceremoniously heaving from the sound system. And what of this great distorted monolith of sound and its taciturn devotees, stares unbroken, lips mouthing silent prayer… aye, it is a most peculiar ritual and penance, propelled by the likes of Kiwi-Extraordinaires the Dead fecking C. Alas, a new sound resonates through the chamber, whilst uncannily familiar and eerily bewitching, it does not possess the same immensity… Bless my soul (nobody tell Davy Hume!) it’s Michael Morley and ‘is latest 12 string slinging affair, Heavens Idleness Awaits (pressed, packaged, and pushed by the superlative Thin Wrist).
Two long playing slabs, four beautifully meandering tunes picked out on 12 string acoustic guitar. All four tracks are astounding in their simplicity, but provide the listener with an engaging, daydream-like sonic journey – maybe a droll Steve Reich… less stoic, more lysergic (or perhaps a more turgid, hard-assed Timothy Leary)? At times, Morley’s playing is Fahey-like; other moments, his sonic dabbling is closer to compatriot Donald McPherson. Were it not for the need to flip the records (the gatefold is a true bee-yoot), one could be forgiven for thinking Heavens is a single extended length study – and maybe it is, with the album’s linear notes indicating the album was recorded on a single day. This is the record for getting in touch with yr inner psyche in the proto-extinction age. And all those deadheads thought they had it made in the shade with their endless stream of dubbed cassette tapes…bless.
Morley has long produced fascinating works both as a member of Dead C and under the Gate moniker, but Heavens Idleness Awaits is some of his best work since Metric or the Dew Line. An absolute cracker and surely one of 2019’s best.