Michael Morley of Gate and the Dead C makes the furniture sing | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Michael Morley of Gate and the Dead C makes the furniture sing 

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click to enlarge Michael Morley

Michael Morley

Courtesy the Artist

Michael Morley has been making music that teeters on the edge of collapse since 1980, when he and fellow teenager Richard Ram formed the bedroom-pop duo Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos. The New Zealand-based singer and multi-instrumentalist is one-third of the Dead C, a long-running group whose entropic music draws elements of rock, electroacoustic composition, and free improvisation into a vortex at the point where primitive means and sophisticated aesthetics converge. He is also the sole constant member of Gate, whose diverse catalog includes a hostile takeover of disco (on the 2016 12-inch Saturday Night Fever) and walls of dysphoric, electronic noise. Morley rarely recorded under his own name until 2015, when he began making solo records of guitar music that vary in style but consistently evoke musical stasis. In his latest endeavor, the Never Quartet, Morley places four acoustic guitars on pieces of wooden furniture and uses ebows on the strings, causing the instruments and the objects supporting them to resonate. In concert, listeners are encouraged to record the music in progress and then play their recordings back into the vibrating maelstrom.   v

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