Mortal’s enigmatic and sublime concept album, ‘DECO’, renders a grand tour of Africa, Europe, and North America through a retro-futurist lens
Whatever the nationality, this foray into muted dance beats and mellow grooves is something of a pleasant surprise. I’d recommend to those who like their instrumental dance relatively chilled out but confident. Brushed snares and live cymbals are surrounded by glacial synth pads and digital winds blow across them all on Minus One. The hurly-burly of a Moroccan street market meets funky basslines as waves lap against the shore on Moroccan Dip. Rouen steps into more recognisable dance territory but still keeps you guessing and there’s an African feel to Mentor: Low Flying – with its sense of open plains being skimmed by low-flying aircraft. Chrysler drifts towards Les Jumeaux side-project territory of In The Nursery, but couldn’t quite be mistaken for the Humberstone twins. Whilst Luxor comes across like a close neighbour of Moroccan Dip but with sampled percussion and strings to the fore. Test Drive (Autobahnana) begins with a screaming car coming to a skidding halt and immediately recalls the Formula One madness of the Tekton Motor Corporation.
Though the pacey dance beat and groove that comes makes you wonder if Leftfield broke into the recording session and hijacked the proceedings. With just seven tracks spanning almost an hour, the average running time is about nine minutes apiece. Some don’t make any great progression but others constantly surprise. Sleeve notes tells us the final artwork was by a certain Dagmar Tubes who also provided the impressive and memorable artwork for haujobb‘s seminal solutions for a small planet album. An entertaining curiosity.’
Rob Dyer (August 2000)