Posts Tagged ‘Kranky’

Kranky – 11th November 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

In researching and considering Loscil’s latest offering, I returned briefly to the previous album, 2014’s Sea Island. An album that was broadly ambient, it was also firmly a work of electronica, an album that was big on ideas, and engaging rather than immersive or entirely background.

Monument Builders expands on this, and while texture and tone continue to play central roles in the formation of the individual pieces which make up the album, it’s also an album on which the individual tracks are built on dynamic and contrast, and the structures of each piece are clearly defined. While the overarching tone is gentle, subtle, there’s much variation between the tracks, and the way in which sounds suddenly emerge in the foreground means there is a continual sense of movement within each piece and across the album as a whole.

Delicate beats thump like a heartbeat against the ticking clock: the soft notes which form a repeating motif through ‘Drained Lake’ may not in themselves build tension, but there’s something beneath the surface. All is not well, all is not calm. You sit, on edge, as an elongated drone undulates like a distant siren wail.

‘Red Tide’ is very much rhythmic in its focus, a cyclical synthesised bass loop – part Kraftwerk, part ‘I Feel Love’ – forms the spine of the track. ‘Anthropocene’, the album’s penultimate track, stands as something of a companion and counterpart to this, with a similar bubbling motif murkily pulsating beneath, while mournful brass conjures black and white or sepiatone scenes of bygone days. It’s an interesting contrast well executed.

Monument Builders is very much a ‘next stage’ work, which continues to expand Loscil’s sonic horizons in a host of directions. But equally as important as recognising the artistic developments, one has to consider the listening experience, and this is ultimately where Monument Builders triumphs. In switching between background and foreground musical dynamics and building and reducing the degrees of tension, Scott Morgan (aka Loscil) has masterfully created a work which demands attention without being excessively obtrusive.

 

KRANK204_10x10_300dpi

Monument Builders is the new album from loscil, the ambient/electronic project of prolific composer Scott Morgan. It was primarily created on sample-based instruments in Morgan’s century- old Vancouver home. Like that aged space, this music is also rough-hewn, with rickety samples of boiling kettles and resonant moving air. Recordings from a vintage micro-cassette recorder contribute distortion, rattles and textures that serve as both percussion and abstract aural colour.

Ahead of the album’s release on 11th November via Kranky, you can hear the title track here:

The clue’s in the name: this is Aural Aggravation. We do ambient, but not chillout, no new age shit. We like abrasion, noise and all things unsettling. But it’s Friday night after another week of global turbulence and insanity. The news is a 24/7 scrolling atrocity exhibition and frankly, we need something to keep us from launching ourselves off a bridge. So this comes as a welcome arrival in the AA inbox.

New York City synthesis trio Forma will be releasing their third LP, Physicalist, via kranky on September 23rd, and today we can hear the first excerpt from this sublime album in the closing track, ‘Improvisation for Flute and Piano’. A slow breaking meditation in which the flute provides the soft, subtle atmosphere, and the piano pulses with expressive persistence, it’s a beautiful curtains close on a record that has no shortage of allure and mystique.

 

forma_kranky2