When Czech electro-pop artist Boris Carloff released his debut solo album, The Escapist, two years ago, it received a warm welcome in his homeland. Winning a number of awards and garnering an admirable amount of acclaim, it paved the way for the singer/songwriter to tour around the UK and Europe.
In the wake of its success, Carloff travelled to Iceland to work with producer Bardi Johansson on his sophomore effort, Morphosis. The recently released record fades ominously into “I’m an Island and the People are the Sea” with slow, resonating vocals. Chilling synths establish an unnerving atmopshere before erupting into a slightly more upbeat tempo, while maintaining dark undertones throughout.
“Days Go By” flows out of this atop sporadic percussion that keeps its distance at first. It forges an otherwordly ambience in advance of taking on a more technical sound. “Cos You Know” picks up with psychadelic synths and a simple melody, proceeding to gradually build amid frantic background effects.
Cries of distress echo across the solemn piano keys of “Cave”. A sombre harmony joins in alongside piercing electronics to further emphasize the track’s tormented vibe. The reverberating vocals of “No Matter” pierce the senses in its aftermath, teaming up with cutting synths to solidfy a foreboding atmosphere. “Intermezzo” follows as a short instrumental interlude, driven by affective string work.
The synths of “All The Things at Last” grow expectantly behind a mellow melody before the entire piece is taken over by a dance-like beat and optimistic rhythm. “I’ve Been Thinking of You” takes over, emitting an ethereal aura before “Too Soon, Too Close” returns to a portentous feel, featuring chanting vocals about which there is something rather unsettling. It’s up to the forlorn lyrics and piano of “Last Runner” then to close the curtain by taking a more stripped down approach than its predecessors.
There’s a strong experimental quality to Bardi Johansson’s material here. It’s extremely heavy on the electronics and not always easy on the ears, but it is undeniably unique and creative. The artist has certainly done his own thing and while its technical nature won’t appeal to everyone, it warrants investgation for listeners who crave something outside of the norm.
Morphosis can be found on iTunes now.