I logged into MySpace today (something I avoid as much as possible) and had a friend request from Requiem for Delinquency. I followed the link for the obligatory “check it out before denying it” glance and was wowed by what I heard. What I had expected to be my usual 5-minute check of my messages before going on to other more important things that demanded my time and attention has now turned into over five hours of listening to streaming music on requiemfordelinquency.com while trying to find things to keep me busy at my computer so I can keep listening.
I’m the kind of person who listens to things on repeat for days, and sometimes weeks or months, on end. I get something under my skin and it just stays there. Unlike many people whose favorite things are constantly changing, once I become passionate about something, it becomes a permanent fixture in my life. My very first CDs were Enya‘s Watermark and Kitaro‘s Kojiki. Twenty years later, I’m still listening to those CDs on a weekly basis. I can see Requiem for Delinquency becoming another permanent fixture in my musical rotation.
Hobs End is the first album from composer Chance Morrison, who self-produced the project rather then trying to get the big labels to back him, and his grassroots approach seems to be working for him. It’s hard to put a genre label on the music as it is primarily electronica but is not as high octane as techno and trance or low octane as new age or chill. Each song has a unique hook to it (sound samples or effects), but the beat remains fairly consistent. While there are some faster tracks on the album it is balanced overall in mood (somewhat somber and sensual), making it the perfect dance selection for when the night is winding down but you aren’t ready to quit moving yet.
Some elements of Hobs End remind me of Bill Leeb projects such as Delerium and Fauxliage, but laced with Morrison’s own vocals rather than the sultry sirens who play guest vocalists in Leeb’s music. Requiem for Delinquency is the kind of electronica music you might find on a Six Degrees or Nettwerk label. (I’ll buy anything they release.) In other words, it may be self-produced but it sounds like a studio-backed production. Some tracks are similar to, but have more synth than, Robert Miles and Enigma compositions, but are not as heavily reliant on synth as Tangerine Dream or Vangelis tend to be.
I’m really searching for a way to describe Morrison’s voice but the only word I can think of is breathy. He almost whispers in a laid-back or mournful way that reminds me of Depeche Mode or Duran Duran. I say mournful because, listening to the lyrics, Morrison seems to be questioning the reality and depth of daily interactions, the life, love and experiences that we share with others. Sound bites from films and television shows call to mind images and ideas and then explore them. For example, in the track “The Work of Science” a sound bite from the classic science fiction film The Brain That Wouldn’t Die declares, “My eyes are deceiving me” and “What you see is real. What’s done is done and what I’ve done is right. It’s the work of science.” Then Morrison sings the refrain, “Will we remember what was real?”
Overall, the album is layered with rich sounds from a variety of instruments, both traditional and electronic. While his selection of instruments may be contemporary, the arrangement and use of them is similar to a classical composition and takes you on a journey of the mind. While Hobs End doesn’t have a signature sound to it that screams “Chance Morrison made me!”, it certainly stands out from the monotonous droning of most new electronica music. If you are a fan of Six Degrees or Nettwerk artists, do yourself a favor and check out Requiem for Delinquency.