Music

Ezekiel Honig & Morgan Packard: Early Morning Migration

Cosmo Lee

Quintessential iPod music -- a soothing album that's not afraid to be quiet.


Ezekiel Honig & Morgan Packard

Early Morning Migration

Label: Microcosm
US Release Date: 2005-07-26
UK Release Date: 2005-07-12
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Despite the dancing silhouette adverts, people seem to be using their iPods in much more sedate ways. The headphone cord hinders motion, after all; countless iPods clatter under treadmills daily due to runners entangled in cords. Instead of dancing with them, people are simply substituting iPods for jukeboxes. As a home stereo, the iPod particularly excels, due to its large memory and random playlist function. And while an iPod only plays what is inside it, the term "iPod music" could describe the minimal electronic background music that many urban iPod owners favor. With Early Morning Migration, Ezekiel Honig and Morgan Packard have created quintessential iPod music.

Strangely enough, Honig and Packard both cut their teeth on late '90s drum & bass. Honig was a DJ, and Packard was a producer, but each moved away from d&b as the music stagnated. On Technology Is Lonely and Peoples Places & Things, Honig added a uniquely emotional spin to the glitchy minimal house of Mille Plateaux and Force Inc., while Packard delved into academic music with composition studies and software programming. Although the two wrote tunes separately for this album, the result sounds like one person. Honig's clean tones and simple (but not simplistic) melodies combine with Packard's deep sound design and emotive harmonies for a pensive, soothing vibe.

The album begins with the slow-motion shoegazing of "Tropical Ridges", which has a grainy yet full-bodied ambience, with a hint of kick drum underneath. "Balm" follows, and it's exactly that. Its gorgeous, gauzy tones, along with "Window Nature" bring to mind Shudder to Think's lovely (and ill-used) soundtrack to High Art. In general, Honig and Packard alternate tunes here; Honig's are slightly more rhythmic, creating a gently undulating listen. The album peaks with the found sound percussion of "Planting Broken Branches, Pt. 1", then returns to beatlessness with the trembling, Bill Frisell-esque "A Lake of Suggestions Pt. 2" and the jellyfish pulsation of "A Long Time Ago".

Early Morning Migration could be called "ambient", but it has no spacy synth washes or new age-y melodies. It's ambient in the Brian Eno sense, enhancing the atmosphere of whatever room it's in. The album does reward active listening; repeated spins uncover deep bass melodies in "Hibernate", rich brass (!) harmonies in "White on White", and the polyrhythms of out-of-time loops in "Planting Broken Branches, Pt. 2". But at low volumes, this album shines as a soundtrack to everyday life. Wake up to it, fall asleep to it, read a book to it, or skin up to it -- the ceiling's the limit.

8

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image