Review by François Couture
I8U’s third full-length solo album, Grasshopper Morphine, is also her most accomplished, compelling effort. The ideas she sketched in B have flourished into engaging esthetics. The artist aims at the intellect and the body. She doesn’t want to give you an urge to dance, she wants her electronics to find their way into your organs and affect you on a biological level. These are not crude experiments involving head-splitting sine waves or sub-bass tones that make you sick to your stomach. I8U’s approach is much more gentle and elegant; it could be compared to Francisco López at his most physical. For example, “Sun Dogs Rising” features a high tone becoming more and more insistent as the piece unfolds — it’s not alone, there’s a lot going on behind it, but at one point you focus solely on its increasingly menacing presence, wondering how much more it can grow before it devours you. In terms of less field recording-based, more electronic music references, Grasshopper Morphine evokes Ryoji Ikeda, Carsten Nicolai, and David Kristian‘s beautiful Room Tone. The synthesizers create their own rhythms (sometimes conflicting sets of them), but there are no naked beats here and no clicks & cuts like on B. This album can work well as ambient/background music and it literally opens up when scrutinized. High playback volume is essential to experience it fully. Recommended.