23 April 2006

Loscil - Plume - Kranky - CD

Scott Morgan's Loscil project has grown in both stature and popularity since his earliest releases for Kranky. Something that he fully deserves as every album (and single, on Involve) has been of such a high standard that it's hard to fault any of them.

From the more Basic Channel styled 'Triplepoint' through the varied and deeply beautiful 'Submers' right up to, arguably his finest work so far 'First Narrows' he has a small but expertly crafted catalogue of engaging, beautiful and considered work under his belt.

The fact that 'Plume' is superb from beginning to end is certainly no surprise then and merely reinforces the fact that Loscil is one of the treasures of the Organic / Electronica scene.

Morgan seems to keep a low profile for the most part and there's a real sense of that within his music... understated, unwilling to be tarred with any sort of musical brush - he just writes phenomenally gorgeous music that seems to come straight from the heart.

'Motoc' begins the album with a simple and delicate loop that filters and slowly evolves whilst he adds a one-note bass line and layers of sample and string noise. This is classic Loscil and has an infinitely hypnotic quality that drags you in and washes over you, drenching you in its atmosphere.

There's something reminiscent about 'Rorschach' and you get a pleasing feeling of familiarity as soon as the main meat of the music cuts in. Again, looped sounds and distant tones create a slight feeling of dislocation and the use of a single bass tone reinforces the simplicity of the music. A distorted guitar-style sound plays gently over the music and perfectly complements the lilting piano melodies.

From there the music just grows and grows into a textbook example of how to produce something unique without pandering to any particular style - Morgan clearly just loves writing music and it's this that gives it so much weight.

'Chinook' is a chiming, rolling track with layers of warmth and a lovely bassline whilst 'Charlie' is more downbeat and more ambient. When the background guitar melody cuts in there's a moment of clarity that soon gives way to a delightful sense of melancholy.

'Mistral' ends the album in a similar way to the beginnning with its subtle musical shimmers and an achingly deep chord loop that will leave you wanting, and probably needing, more.

'Plume' displays many of the qualities of classic ambient music and really reminds me of some of Air Liquide's material from their more relaxed works as well as artists such as The Bionaut. It's hard to quantify exactly why that should be, but he's clearly influenced by a world of different sounds and the way the tracks bubble gently under the surface and use a mid-paced tempo is definitely from that particular school of thought.

Every track has a musical feel and they definitely feel as though they have an overall theme - in the same way that the other Loscil albums feel like complete works.

Quite simply it's a wonderful piece of work and, judging by the success of 'First Narrows', promises to do huge things on the Electronica scene, and deservedly so.

Morgan and Kranky really have come up trumps yet again.


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