For his latest effort Cardiff producer Bryn Morgan returns with an EP exorcised of some of the earlier jazzier leanings of his sound, and injected with a healthy dose of darkness. She Waters is a sombre haze borrowed straight from the Burial song-book.
Although undoubtedly a familiar formula, it’s one which Morgan executes with conviction and flair. Modulating synths, muted sine-wave bass and chiming Rhodes-esque electric pianos undulate throughout, upon which tight and trebly garage rhythms ride high, punctuating the murk and lending the tracks a propulsive force.
However, it’s in the sample department that Morgan really makes his mark. Opening track ‘It’s an Experience’ begins as a typical two-step shuffle before the introduction of the vocals. A looping melody from a church choir lends a degree of euphoria to proceedings, and elevates the song significantly.
However, before we’re allowed to sink too readily into the rapture, the choir begins to tremble and glitch before abruptly halting altogether. On first listen this innovation jarred somewhat. But, once acquainted with the progression of the piece it began to make more sense. The opening minutes of the album exhibit the human voice at its most uncontrived – at least insofar as it will appear here – its natural cadences intact, and its ebbs and flows recognisably human. But, it turns out to be a fleeting glimpse. Like a magician’s trick in which the curtain is raised to reveal the illusion, Morgan is pulling back the veil and asserting the artifice of the producer. This is not the human voice unmediated, but as captured, trapped in the machine and exposed to Morgan’s machinations.
For the remainder of the EP vocal samples are pitched and warped, at times beyond recognition. But, despite being fed through the machine, they never cease to lose their emotive content. In fact, it is often enhanced. During the warped slow-jam ‘Redeem’, the vocals are chopped and screwed, slowed down to a mournful dirge. Though the voices are inarticulate, they ache with longing nonetheless. Later, the pitched vocals of the eponymous ‘She Waters’ evoke a child, lost against the glacial landscape of the backing track. The song ends with a piercing two-note line, uncannily reminiscent of an ambulance siren. As it fades away, it takes the track, and the child, with it. It’s a sinister end to the EP but one appropriate to Morgan’s darkest offering yet.
Released June 9, 2017