Morgan Garrett - Extreme Fantasy Music Album Reviews

Morgan Garrett - Extreme Fantasy Music Album Reviews
The Philadelphia-based artist uses damaged acoustic guitars, piercing electronics, and unsettling vocals to construct a grotesque and hermetic world, conjuring visions of abject terror. 

Ugliness is underrated these days. Somewhere down the line, as the underground gave in to poptimism, the freaks made peace with the cheerleaders. But not Morgan Garrett. Reared in the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio, and based today in Philadelphia, Garrett is no stranger to the darker end of the human experience. His hometown is known as the epicenter of America’s opioid crisis. The collapse of the steel industry paved the way for swarms of pill mills that gradually devastated the region. Garrett’s willfully isolating music feels inextricably tied to the ghosts of this upbringing; an uneasy morass of atonal electronics, quavering vocals, and ragged guitars, Extreme Fantasy openly explores the depths of loneliness and fear. Appalachian hymns are mutilated and swathed in ear-scraping feedback, while his electronic “melodies” arrive twisted beyond all recognition. If Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers could be expressed in sound, this would be it.

Though Americana has always loomed large in Garrett’s various musical projects, Extreme Fantasy makes his folk fascinations much clearer. Like Royal Trux’s Twin Infinitives or Smog’s Sewn to the Sky, Extreme Fantasy is technically a guitar album, but the instrument is less a vehicle for melodies or chords than a rickety can to be kicked and batted down the pavement. On the opening “Fall & Walk,” a buzzsaw guitar riff ruthlessly cuts through Garrett’s queasy electronic soundscapes, initiating the listener into his hermetic and grotesque world. When Garrett’s acoustic guitar first appears on “Mercy & Grace,” it’s hopelessly out of tune, as if Garrett were twisting the pegs as he plays it. There’s not much time to ruminate on this, however, as squeaking feedback and crashing drums begin gnawing into the track like termites. Every note feels precisely determined to elicit maximum discomfort.

Jandek’s mutilated country is the clearest forebear for Garrett’s sound, and the deranged exorcisms of Throbbing Gristle and Bill Orcutt figure into his stew as well. Garrett fearlessly throws himself into this legacy of confrontational music with a gripping conviction. On “In bed with anger,” his mangled strumming is swathed in nightmarish noise, and his processed and doubled vocals sound as if they were harmonizing over some hellish campfire sing along. In between the dissonant yodeling and off-tempo drums of “Life after life,” an iPhone notification pings in the background. Perhaps Extreme Fantasy’s most striking quality is the way damaged acoustic textures haunt contemporary electronic sensibilities, subsuming shiny, clean digital tones in a torturous murk.

At 26 minutes, Extreme Fantasy’s relative brevity comes as something of a relief. Even so, Garrett retreads the same territory too often for it to remain completely fresh throughout. But his vision is undeniable. To say that this music isn’t meant for most people would be a gross understatement, but by the same token, accusing it of being unpleasant to listen to seems like missing the point. Whether it’s the blast of apocalyptic feedback that commences “Fall & Walk” or the unnerving skipping noise that courses through the title track, Extreme Fantasy plays like an uncanny catharsis, diving headfirst into the disturbing depths to confront demons that few artists dare to acknowledge. It’s shocking to watch Garrett unravel these sickly shapes, leaving their entrails strewn out on the floor for us to gape at. In its willingness to be so ugly, it strives toward a different kind of beauty.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Morgan Garrett - Extreme Fantasy Music Album Reviews Morgan Garrett - Extreme Fantasy Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 14, 2023 Rating: 5


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