Morcheeba: Big Calm: Pitchfork Review
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Cover Art Morcheeba
Big Calm
[Sire; 1998]
Rating: 6.7

As I sat in my tiny computer room/closet, sweat dripping from my nipples onto my stomach which was bulbous from a fine foccacia that evening, I plugged in Big Calm for that final listen before rendering my all-important verdict. I know you've been waiting far too long, faithful Pitchfork reader, and I'm sorry. But just before I began to write, the phone rang and I knew you'd have to wait a little longer...

She began telling me about her problems: the married guy she's fucking, the divorce her parents are talking about. She reminded me of how upset she gets and how she wants to be tough without the embarassment of tears. Big Calm was cooing in the backround, and I kicked the chair back and decided to let the Morcheeba in, baby.

I realized that I had fallen deep into Skye Edwards' voice, and had been silent too long. She asked if I was watching TV or something. I hastily said no, that I had a CD on. She asked me if I thought she'd been a freak. I replied that certainly not, she hadn't (though I hadn't actually listened to a word she'd said). It didn't really matter. I used to love her, but the bitterness is gone now, replaced by an ocean of lazy apathy broken only by islands of poorly recalled sexual desires.

Big Calm was an appropriate album for the conversation. It doesn't hurry, just winds slow tapestries of vaguely interesting trip-hop loops, sighingly slow vocals and obscure samples. Unfortunately, the production value of Big Calm is significantly glossier than their debut, Who Can You Trust?, removing an important, though hard-to-describe organic element from their sound. Big Calm is competent, above-the-pack-but-just-barely trip-hop with all the right elements in the chamber but no spark of intuition or risk. It works in the background of the long-distance phone conversation with your ex, but I suspect it won't impress too many new acquaintances.

-James P. Wisdom, July, 1998

10.0: Essential
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible