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Listening to Morgan Doctor’s
latest disc, Other Life, one might not get the impression
that she has shared the stage with the likes of the B-52s, Cyndi
Lauper, Debbie Harry and the Cult; the disc's lilting melodies and
swirling textures are a far cry from the pop/rock sensibilities of
these artists. Indeed, field recordings of cityscapes and chanting
monks recorded while visiting Korea have more in common with her
work in composing for dance, film and theatre (for which she has
received a Dora award and been nominated for a Juno).
And yet this is not an album of unapproachable avant-garde sonic experimentation: as the driving beat behind the rock sensation The Cliks for three years now, there's no shortage of catchy riffs and solid drumming. As on her last album, Is This Home, she is once again accompanied on multiple tracks by the haunting vocals of Tamara Williamson and on the opening number by Clara Engel. However, the grand, sweeping, distorted guitars on tracks like "Show me How" and the classic pop intervals of "Silver City" announce that the focus this time is more Coldplay than Kraftwerk.
The straddling of pop and ambient genres, something akin to Boards of Canada or K.C. Accidental, might be viewed as the central metaphor behind Other Life. Thinking about the divide between her private existence and life on the road, with all its attendant excesses, made the latter seem almost otherworldly, a social environment completely detached from her daily routine and yet a very real part of her life. This juxtaposition is the uncanny third space that nurtures the mood, tone and constructive principle behind Other Life.
Doctor continues her drumming
with The Cliks, recently coming off a solid year and a half of
touring in support of their debut album. She now gears up to support
the international release of Other Life.
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