A long-time side-project offshoot from Napalm Death but now a solo vehicle for Mick Harris, Scorn returns for the first time since 2010 and with a new album, Cafe Mor. Full of his trademark cavernous bass and deep explorations into dub, the record features a surprising collaboration with Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson!
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There was a point in time where it seemed highly unlikely I’d be typing words about a new Scorn album. Mick Harris had declared that he’d put Scorn to be bed some years ago, but we now know it was only for a (relatively long) snooze. Mr Harris is a true visionary - no other artist on planet earth can claim to traverse so many styles; techno, drum & bass, drone, hip-hop, dub etc. and retain an extremely high level of authenticity and such a singular, distinctive sound. A man of many musical hats, (Fret, Lull, The Weakener, Quoit etc.) his Scorn material is possibly his best-known solo output - a project running since 1992 and now at its fourteenth album. Since he re-emerged from some downtime with records as Fret, I read about him saying that he had missed the space he creates inside the music of Scorn. In comparison to the denser eruptions as Fret or the relentlessly bangin’ techno as Monrella, this new Scorn material is like a dank, barely lit virtual environment you can move around inside.
If the ‘Feather’ EP released this summer whet your appetite you’ll mostly know what’s in store, and that is a swim through the murkiest of waters. ‘Cafe Mor’ wields levels of sub-bass that vibrate every cell in the body - Harris has proved himself to be an absolute master of low frequencies and here they’re the foundation of much of the album - the subs on this record are, quite simply, monolithic. It’s fairly well-known that the artist is a keen fisherman and I can’t help but think of a lot of Scorn output in recent years in terms of fishing. Track titles sometimes reference places and fishing tackle. He pictured fishing locations on the artwork for 2011 album ‘Stealth’ and 2008 EP ‘In The Margins’. Taking all of this into account, it’s as though the trouser flapping bass on this album were the muddy water of a river or lake and his percussion the sharp metal cast inside to lure and catch a bearded beast that lurks within.
It will come as no surprise that the production on this is just immense - his dubwise techniques make these tracks sound colossal. Oh, and I did say you’ll mostly know what’s in store - there is a surprise in Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods making an appearance on ‘Talk Whiff’ with some class lyrics. Highly recommended.
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- Cafe Mor by Scorn
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