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Wednesday, May 27, 1998

PRETTY RITUALS As you might be able to tell from the title, this record finds local-unto-international PRETTY RITUALS

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Ann Arbor's Morsel has an unusual approach to both electronic and organic music. But the group seems just as savvy manipulating one as the other. On I'm a Wreck, tribal beats pound inside buzzing samples, and doctored vocals pump out of a web of deep bass and airy flutes. The result is no uplifting pop moment, but one that raises consciousness and mixes up emotions. Add didgeridoo and unbridled guitars into the formula and you have an unwieldy mass of carefully layered chaos. The beginning of the record has its shadows, but as it progresses, the halls and passages darken considerably, especially on bleak pieces like "Evil Clack" and "Splat mi Splat." It would be easy to throw out names like Sonic Youth to describe the incongruent structure and confused delivery of these songs. But Morsel has thrown those who seek such linear comparisons off the trail by successfully merging so many styles and innovations.

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