Last year Morgan was behind the first release on Janus's label with the astonishing Damsel In Distress, a 30-minute mixtape of face-melting electronics and ghostly acapellas that not-so-neatly outlined what Janus was about. He then followed it with the excellent Heterocetera EP for Tri Angle, where he channeled his impulses into confrontational dance music that mashed up ballroom, Jersey club and grime. Now Morgan returns to Janus for another 30 minutes of gnashing teeth and grinding metal on Agitations, and he sounds nastier and angrier than before.
That part is intentional: Morgan said the mixtape was inspired by his recent touring experiences, particularly the European festival circuit, where he was disillusioned by the straightness and whiteness of it all. He also felt a growing disconnect from club culture itself, but instead of finding an avenue back to it, Agitations stubbornly cuts its own path as far from dance music as possible. It's destruction rather than deconstruction, where Morgan seizes on the violent capabilities of electronic sound. He ruthlessly pulls apart samples and stretches voices beyond human capability. The mix weaves between abrasive and quiet with little regard for functionality, and there are almost no hooks to grab onto, unless you count the jagged edges of Morgan's beats (if they can be called that). There's no Beyoncé vocal wafting through the mix here, only the promise of more destruction around every corner.
A few lulls, like an instrumental version of his remix of Teengirl Fantasy, are temporary shelters between Morgan's mortar rounds, but even those moments tend to end abruptly. He tries his best to disrupt conventions of how dance mixes should flow, which makes Agitations a difficult listen. "It was meant to be the worst 25 minutes of your life," Morgan told RA of Damsel In Distress, surprised at the positive reaction to it. Agitations takes a step closer to completing that mission. Though to his credit (and maybe to his chagrin) there's still something deeply enjoyable about Morgan's visceral and unforgiving club music subversions.