Morcheeba - Dive Deep
Record Label: Ultra Records
Release Date: February 19, 2008
The brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey have resurrected their ambient-pop project Morcheeba to release the duo’s sixth studio album Dive Deep on Ultra Records. Produced by keyboardist Paul Godfrey, Dive Deep is a collection of sleek, sonic chasms and liquidity synth-textured melodies ballooned with parachutes of homespun guitars, smooth percussive beats, and plyometric jumps in the electro glides. The Godfrey’s are known for their aquatic lounge-pop ambiences, but still they manage to tuck in a few surprises on Dive Deep that set them apart from electro-pop artists of their ilk like Air, Northern Lights, and Massive Attack. Their sonic escapes produce a stress-free, laid back atmosphere that is hypnotic, stylish, and charismatic which works like an emollient on your anger. The fluidity of their chord progressions roll with the malleability of lava sliding down the side of a volcano, and congeal with the sensually splayed guitar lines and luxuriating percussions which form a satiny calm through the melodic phases.
Guitarist Ross Godfrey orchestrates the pleasing mood of the guitar tones and exotic beats channeling through the all-instrumental piece “Thumbnails.” The brothers weave country-vibed guitar phrases over cool, breezy synths on “Riverbed” and “The Ledge Beyond the Edge,” while the tooling of bushy synth psychedelics on “Enjoy the Ride” are strewn across the smoke rings of R&B vocals from Judie Tzuke. Other guest vocalists on the album include Norwegian rapper Cool Calm Pete on “One Love Karma,” Bradley Burgess on the country-folk loomed "Run Honey Run," Thomas Dybdahl on the soft-pop “Riverbed” and “Sleep on It Tonight,” and Parisian singer Manda whose vocals on “Au Dela” and “Gained the World” have the spellbinding pitch of Enya with the delicate clasps of Cascada. The album is a tapestry of ambient channels and calming tones constructing a sweet oasis that you would not mind being marooned on every now and then.
The words are introspective, expressing an inner mourning that desires to be lifted out of bondage like in the track “Riverbed.” Dybdahl’s vocals soar through the verses, “Meet me on the other side / It’s a brand new start to a brand new life, and I’m open / Cause we both share the same degree / Of ecology and philosophy, and I’m open… from the lazy sleep that locks me down / I need you / You lead me down to the waters edge / Let’s take a rest on the riverbed.” The music and the vocals have a romantic air that cools the senses.
The melodies are loaded with soft, satiny synth beddings meshed with slinky guitar wanderings and wavy percussions. The London-based Morcheeba are probably more about the pleasing esthetics of classically shaped guitar lines and soothing percussions than about designing techno-loops and club-vibed rhythms. The brothers who are best known for providing the background music for singers Skye Edwards and Daisy Martey, have found fertile ground working with different singers whose vocals vary in texture. Judie Tzuke has a soulful R&B register while Thomas Dybdahl’s pitch is closer to the baritone furls of Leonard Cohen, and Manda’s vocals deliver a bright, delicate resonance that makes you think of a choir of pixies and elves. The Godfrey brothers work with a mixed bag of vocals on Dive Deep which adds to its surprises and brings out the individuality of each track.