Michael Morley takes the easily digestible disco frivolities of Saturday Night Fever and delves a few levels darker into the heart of the beast that lives in the characters off the floor. Permeated with the skeletal thrust of the film’s score, his album of the same name starts out with click-snap drumbeats and horn stabs that seem fitted for the the lighted floor and glint of gold chains under mirrored balls. But quickly on in opener “Asset” Morley lets the furious rush of substances take over the lens. The veins pulse as foreign bodies enter the bloodstream, leaving those beats and horns to get rack panned to the background and to just the distorted crush of noise and dance enter the brain en masse. The blur sets hold and the belly of Saturday Night Fever ends up more fever dream than breezy night out. There’s a sweaty anxiety that balances perfectly above those catchy dance touches, fighting and letting go in equal measures. By the end its hard to remember what happened, to place those snatches of melody stuck in your brain outside of the pounding char of the thick blows of steel wool guitar. Morley is no stranger to noise in its purer forms, having spent a number of years in The Dead C, but this is more subversive. Its a record that finds the chaos behind dance and gives life to it, gives it a tangible shape and a name. That voice that whispers in your ear to dance until the fight either goes out of you or comes to you, that’s the raw heart of Saturday Night Fever. But just as nights come to a close so does Morely draw the album to a comedown pitch that slows the heartbeat and lets some clarity fill the ears. Its hard to find a better cleanse than Gate offers here.
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