(Speaker Footage)

Joseph Morris, aka Druid Cloak, confounds us yet again with his Cryptosystem moniker by referring to his project as “Cryptosystem II” instead of “Cryptosystem I” as he did on his fantastic release Mortalscapes (Entertainment Systems). I was spectacularly angry for all of a fraction of a second, because do you know what that does to my iTunes organization? My MP3 metadata is now all over the place! But this is a review for a cassette, and I won’t bog you down in those details because it does Codek Valtu, Morris’s follow-up to Mortalscapes, in insane disservice. Did I say Mortalscapes was spectacular? Well, ditto for Codek Valtu. That’s the direction I need to be heading.

I covered Mortalscapes in an Entertainment Systems catch-all review of their first batch, and I stand by what I said when I said that Morris’s music “shoots the vastnesses of altered realities and abstract planes in a sand skiff of his own devising, rendering in 3D what only has been briefly glimpsed in the mind.” I like how vague and otherworldly that sounds, and it’s a totally appropriate starting point for Codek Valtu. “Greitooth” introduces a deliberate faux-industrial/ambient washout, with bare percussion and vocal samples, conjuring an alien landscape, complete with sand skiff, probably. It’s a great place to start, and functions as an entry point to the rest of the album.

“Namiki” follows and presents the opposite extreme of Morris’s palette, an electro/industrial workout that wouldn’t feel out of place on Wax Trax! Records (another descriptive holdover from the first review – it’s like I don’t have an original thought in my head…). The rest of Codek Valtu straddles the edges these two tracks represent. It’s often slow-moving but vibrant, patient, composed, and rich with detail. It’s equally filled with a sense of adventure and dread, and all manner of dangerous escapades await your anticipating ears.

For all you electronic experimentalists out there, if you haven’t checked out Morris’s work, you’re doing yourselves a disservice. And it’s not hard to get into Morris’s headspace either – it’s actually quite inviting, not too noisy (for those who don’t like noise) and not too pensive (for those who can’t stand ambient). I love noise, and ambient, and I love what Morris is doing in the middle of it all, taking a stand and planting a flag in the fertile soil that represents his overarching leadership in the field. Let’s all look to him, our glorious new leader on our glorious new planet, and follow his lead into the great dawning age of new musical expression. He’s a man for all people.

…Where did I go just there? Huh, weird. Just buy the damn tape, you monkeys.

--Ryan Masteller