Ugliness is underrated nowadays. Someplace down the road, because the underground gave in to poptimism, the freaks made peace with the cheerleaders. However not Morgan Garrett. Reared within the small city of Portsmouth, Ohio, and primarily based in the present day in Philadelphia, Garrett isn’t any stranger to the darker finish of the human expertise. His hometown is often known as the epicenter of America’s opioid disaster. The collapse of the metal business paved the way in which for swarms of capsule mills that progressively devastated the area. 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, Excessive Fantasy overtly explores the depths of loneliness and concern. Appalachian hymns are mutilated and swathed in ear-scraping suggestions, whereas his digital “melodies” arrive twisted past all recognition. If Concord Korine’s Trash Humpers may very well be expressed in sound, this could be it.
Although Americana has all the time loomed giant in Garrett’s varied musical initiatives, Excessive Fantasy makes his people fascinations a lot clearer. Like Royal Trux’s Twin Infinitives or Smog’s Sewn to the Sky, Excessive Fantasy is technically a guitar album, however the instrument is much less a car 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 by means of Garrett’s queasy digital soundscapes, initiating the listener into his airtight and grotesque world. When Garrett’s acoustic guitar first seems on “Mercy & Grace,” it’s hopelessly out of tune, as if Garrett have been twisting the pegs as he performs it. There’s not a lot time to ruminate on this, nevertheless, as squeaking suggestions and crashing drums start gnawing into the monitor like termites. Each observe feels exactly decided to elicit most discomfort.
Jandek’s mutilated nation is the clearest forebear for Garrett’s sound, and the deranged exorcisms of Throbbing Gristle and Invoice Orcutt determine into his stew as properly. 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 in the event that they have been harmonizing over some hellish campfire sing alongside. In between the dissonant yodeling and off-tempo drums of “Life after life,” an iPhone notification pings within the background. Maybe Excessive Fantasy’s most placing high quality is the way in which broken acoustic textures hang-out modern digital sensibilities, subsuming shiny, clear digital tones in a torturous murk.
At 26 minutes, Excessive Fantasy’s relative brevity comes as one thing of a aid. Even so, Garrett retreads the identical territory too usually for it to stay utterly recent all through. However his imaginative and prescient is plain. To say that this music isn’t meant for most individuals can be a gross understatement, however by the identical token, accusing it of being disagreeable to hearken to looks like lacking the purpose. Whether or not it’s the blast of apocalyptic suggestions that commences “Fall & Walk” or the unnerving skipping noise that programs by means of the title monitor, Excessive Fantasy performs like an uncanny catharsis, diving headfirst into the disturbing depths to confront demons that few artists dare to acknowledge. It’s surprising to look at Garrett unravel these sickly shapes, leaving their entrails strewn out on the ground for us to gape at. In its willingness to be so ugly, it strives towards a special sort of magnificence.