Morning Dove White

One Dove

FFRR, 1993

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


One Dove’s only record – their 1993 debut Morning Dove White – is an odd one. The mostly long numbers tend to get tedious, and they do so with teasing nonchalance. This almost dizzying lackadaisicalness cannot be defined in such commonplace terms as “ambient pop” or “trance” but requires a new definition. Although the music doesn’t aim to be poignant or moody, the lack of tension or direness presents it with a sense of freedom to get all giddy – which, however, doesn’t translate into any sort of jauntiness or unfettering showiness: it is still anchored in modesty: For its seven minutes, “(The Transient) Truth” creates a swoon that spirals in a repetitive hypnotic drum and bass arrangement. This melodiousness could be decorated in so many imaginative ways, not in the least by the intermittent whispering of singer Dot Allison, her vocals flowing like a breeze of comfort in a vacuum of emptiness, as if providing just a glimmer of hope but not delivering on it completely.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The album prides itself on songs like “There Goes The Cure,” which are unusually minimal. Contrary to what one would call minimalism, though, the music is in fact pretty lush. But the band decides not to fully realize an idea, instead leaving it suspended in mid-air to sway whichever way gently. While “(The Transient) Truth” delves in the cradle of a looping dub beat for seven minutes straight, “There Goes The Cure” in its eight minutes seems to be building up to a beat that only arrives more than halfway through, and is disappointingly way more passive than it ought to be if one expects electronic magic. Slow down time and be present in the moment, and the song is a seductress.

There are a million ways in which Morning Dove White could have been a more sensually gratifying record. But all that has been left out of it leaves voids, which makes what actually exists that much more precious. It is as if the band freeze-framed the music after it reached a point and decided to leave it imperfect on a whim. There is a bizarre beauty in this imperfection. But only the band knows when to kill the development of a particular song so that it doesn’t end up haphazardly. There is method to the carelessness of the record. There is a sense of perfection in the sparsely lush layers of each number and in Allison’s heavily reverbed vocals, which sound soothingly heavenly in the haze of the laidback music.

In comparison to the moony cuts of the album, the more conventional ones – “Fallen,” “White Love,” “Breakdown” – are a delicious brew of mainstream electronica and dub with their danceable beats. Definitely more titillating in the short run, these are, however, not as entrancing as the eccentric ones in the grander scheme, but are amply gratifying nonetheless.

When Morning Dove White came out in 1993, it didn’t sound like anything else at that time, and it still doesn’t. A dance record so unassuming yet so profound requires a new genre of its own. But until then, Morning Dove White will be forever a dance record, albeit a one-of-a-kind dance record.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of FFRR, and is used for informational purposes only.