Mick Harris has had some small success as a solo artist, after leaving his drumming job for the hardcore band Napalm Death. Technically speaking he makes electronic albums, but the sound of Scorn is distinctly darker, sparser, and sometimes a bit on the boring side. Ambient keyboard drones and drum loops lumber along like chill-out music for vampires. It's ambient music for rock fans, and sometimes a tough sell. Harris gets wise and enlists the skill (and popularity) of acts like Meat Beat Manifesto, Autechre, Coil, and a few others to breathe life into Ellipsis, a remix project that broadened his exposure considerably. This album has some bland moments (some due to Harris's own remixing), but more often than not has something to please everyone. Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto) turns out an enjoyable, subdued groove for the album's opening remix of Silver Rain Fell. Two tracks later, Coil provides a great 11+ minutes of steady rhythm and mystery for their Dreamspace mix. Of course, no project of this nature would be complete without Bill Laswell, a producer and musician who must be an insomniac for the amount of albums he's participated in. He's a good match for Harris (a frequent collaborator), showing equal parts repetition and gloom, exemplified here in the album's only track with vocals, Night's Ash Black. Next come a passable and basic mix from Scanner, whose strength has always been personified in the found soundbytes of actual cellphone conversations sprinkled throughout the mix. Next the electronic duo of Sean Booth and Rob Brown show up with an exceptional Autechre remix of Falling; one that keeps things minimal, tense, and sinister (fans would agree it harkens back to a time when the group had some warmth). P.C.M. hits the controls next, with a pick-up-the-pace version of The End, firing away at the listener with a drum n' bass intensity -- a welcome cup of coffee in the midst of a mostly downtempo album. Overall, the weight of Scorn bears heavily on the backs of these other musicians, who suffer somewhat by not having dynamic enough material to work with in the first place. Fortunately most of them have enough chops to stay afloat, making this a success for $Mick Harris, and a sacrificial offering from his more talented guests.
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AllMusic Review by Keir Langley
feat: Jack Dangers
feat: Bill Laswell