ROGUE SOUNDS: MRGN Loses His Religion on “Interrupted Nothingness”
“Every musician or music-making person has to have their solo project in which they can express themselves musically and make all the music by their lonesome,” Morgan Hoehne says of MRGN (formerly Morgokalips). “This is mine.”
Hoehe has done time on guitar and drums in Medford metal bands Your Hands Write History, and Me Myself & Enemy, both technically magnificent, but a little too screaming about Jesus-ey for the taste of most folks not also in a band that screams about Jesus in complex time signatures.
But on Interrupted Nothingness, the solo effort Hoehne released in July, that baggage is tossed right out the window, with five instrumental tracks that bring as much melody, subtlety and texture as they do overdriven riffs. Interrupted Nothingness has elements of prog, electronic, downtempo and metal, making for an innovative well-rounded album the likes of which you don’t generally expect to come from the mean streets of Eagle Point.
The arrangements eschew the verse/chorus folk style for more narrative arrangements, with rise and falls of tension like those seen in math and post-rock
The album starts with hopeful hums of reverb leading the song “Systematic Data Compiler,” as thick pads swell in beneath, filling out the sound, as a Zelda-esque melody fades in and dominates the rest of the opening track, “Systematic Data Compiler.” But that is something of misdirection, as the second song, “Rhetorical Vacuum Complex,” ups the tone for most of the rest of the album, with a growling sweep of synth bass, a complex beat and a bouncy riff from the synth. It’s somewhere between jazz, post-rock and downtempo, with hints of video game music as the crunch of 8-bit keys take the melody above a furiously syncopated kick drum, leading to a delicate piano melody and a driving heavy drum pattern.
There are clear elements of the progressive metal on which Hoehne cut his teeth, but there is also much credence paid to hybrid of post-rock and electronic sound pioneered by bands like Maserati.
The album ends with thrilling syncopated stabs of punchy overdrive matched up to a kick drum.
Intterrupted Nothingness isn’t pop music. It’s definitely more wonk-rock, the sort of thing endlessly deconstructed by musicians and gearheads trying to figure out how it happened. But the same could be said of The Ventures, one of the most popular rock bands in history whose music the masses have heard endlessly, but whose name generally elicits looks of confusion. Lyrics may be the language everyone speaks, but you don’t have to speak music’s language to appreciate how it sounds.
And even for the those who strictly listen, there is a lot to listen to on this album, with top-notch instrumental prowess, high production value and a constantly evolving and layered sound. Interrupted Nothingness is probably not for everybody, but it’s probably the best local rock album this critic has heard yet this year.
Interrupted Nothingness is available for download on Bandcamp and iTunes, and streaming on Spotify and Google Play.
Now let’s hope Hoehne brings the project out of the studio and into the venues.