Listencorp review image of primed for primal by murlo

Primed for Primal



Liam Murphy

August 21, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Murlo’s 4-track ‘Primed for Primal’ begins with the screeching ethereal noise of Dancer. A wash of harsh, melodic white noise…

Murlo’s 4-track ‘Primed for Primal’ begins with the screeching ethereal noise of Dancer. A wash of harsh, melodic white noise proceeds a nimble synth as it gracefully leaps atop the dissonance. Coming further into view like a slightly timid creature unveiling itself from the undergrowth, it drags us into a sudden underworld of percussion and chirping arpeggiation. The beautiful illustrated inserts that come with the album when purchased on vinyl depict Murlo’s incredibly detailed world. A world of dancing sprites and woodland spirituality, like an Arthur Rackham painting vivified with more vibrant colour. The instrumentation of Dancer gives us our first insight into the world, the hypnotic melody of bell-like synth illustrating the primordial energy that lurks in the greenery. The gentle breakdown, cooed by choral voices depict a murky natural environment, as the artist ingratiates us into the world.

Woody xylophone notes trickle towards us on Primal. Again the presence of a human-esque voice, spitting incantations into an expansive space alongside unsure chords. The artist tips everything towards us with a gentle hand. Just as we are finding a home amidst the quiet shrubbery, a light begins to shine out of the woods around us. Voices singing out loudly and passionately as a instrument bounces from tree to tree. A solitary kick drum pushes everything forward. The scene becomes tranquil once again, still keeping some of that residual glow as voices weave their way through the woods, only to spring upwards again towards the canopy in another crescendo. Murlo plays effortlessly with a contrast of timid, sharp sounds and the wash of intense percussion and melody.

Dissonant notes blurt out, like the sounds of two young children sparring with sticks. We find our way into aggressive percussion, the surrounding area seems to breathe with a rage as sibilant sounds emerge from behind the main melody. This main melody delights deep and intimidating tunes, diving into baritone notes that shake the foundation Rattle. In tracks like this, its always helpful to remember Murlo’s beginnings. First coming to fruition for a smattering of hard-hitting remixes of artists such as Novelist and Trim, along with imaginative excursions of his own. This penchant for heavy-handed percussion and rhythmic composition is evident. The tone of this track is less emotive, what sounds like taunting laughter rings out every now and again. The atmosphere of the track seems to be more placed in a feeling of torment. We can imagine the trees around us sprawling up ever higher as we descend into some fire-lit celebration or even sacrifice. 

Catharsis starts with a similar earthy energy, until this dissipates and is replaced tranquil xylophone sequences. The instrument makes an ever-shifting floor for Murlo to build upon, as he conjures voices from either side of the woods. Suddenly the area is alive again, sticks hit against trees in skeletal rhythm and a squelching bassline fires out. Living up to its name, the artist splashes choruses of affected voices out towards us. The whole forest choir showing up for the EP’s conclusion. 

A preview of the 4 illustrated inserts

As mentioned, the EP is released alongside a collection of 4 beautifully created scenes from the world of Primed for Primal. Murlo once again shows us his desire to create not just a sonically vibrant world, but a visually stimulating concept as well. The tracks do more than provide a window into this imagined world, they sit us down within it. The use of choral voices and woody percussion helps us to feel the foliage under our feet. But even detached from the visual stimulus, Primed for Primal provides brilliantly composed tracks that blend Murlo’s love for engaging percussion and heartfelt melody.