Send me your track


Loscil - Endless Falls



Scott Morgan’s ambient project fits well with the Kranky imprint; measured and somewhat considered electronic music that takes its lead from the surroundings of British Columbia in providing atmospheric stimulus. From a personal perspective I find it increasingly hard to be excited about music of this nature; whilst it appears to be somehow above the joyful but ultimately functional qualities of dance music, it’s often the case that one doesn’t feel totally engaged with composers of this material. Their decision to produce sonorous and detached music that revels in a sort of vacant, sexless ambiguity means that often one is only left with a peculiar sort of emptiness after listening to it, where questions should be. Whereas Brian Eno’s music was transcendent, it feels as this current generation of ambient musicians hasn’t moved the genre forward, instead just keen to stick a picture of a foggy beach on the CD cover, record some rain or some street noises, use a cello, then sit back and think of David Lynch or Michael Nyman and let the effects do the talking.

So I’m being a bit harsh. “Endless Falls” is all this to a certain extent though, but there’s enough here to make one sit up and take notice after nearly entering a soporific stupor initially. It is all so considered though, as if everything is in its own little place. You feel as if you’re entering a very fragile soundworld where a small step in the wrong place will bring the whole operation crashing down in a matter of seconds. As befits the cover, the album starts with the sound of rain, and it does feel like it’s a wet tuesday at 3pm in November. Nothing new there then. Matters don’t really start to get going until the 3rd track “Shallow Water Blackout” in which little pools of melody seem to merge together like mercury and then fall away again. In terms of structure, it has a sense of flow that is against the forced strains of strings that preceeded it. It’s a shame then that “Dub for Cascadia” enters the tedious realm of coffee table dub, but “Fern and Robin” restores my confidence in Morgan’s abilities. For me, he is clearly at home with tracks that occupy the lower register, wallowing in the warm bosom of a gentle bassline and eschewing the tendency to bring in atmospheric sounds.

The album’s best track is “Lake Orchard”, which soars like an eagle. There’s nothing you won’t have heard before, but the melody grows with a mature assurance, and the various sounds and samples only serve to give it a momentum that is lacking elsewhere. It’s a model of restraint, but has the feel of a real musical journey throughout. For an ambient album, we’re treated to something of a surprise with the last track, which features a spoken word piece from Dan Bejar. “The making of Grief Point” provides a suitably dramatic finish to the album, as what sounds like plucked strings and the odd flourish of piano steep it in an atmosphere which is unsettling. It’s a shame then that the contents of the vocals seem to be pseudo-intellectual poppycock, but I can only guess that it has a personal aspect close to the composer.

As mentioned at the start, this is the kind of album that one has come to expect from Kranky. Morgan’s talents are certainly worth praising, but for me it’s just a shame that so much of this genre of music right now is wallowing in a peculiar sort of predictable aesthetic that you can almost imagine what it sounds like before you’ve even put the CD on. For fans of this music, “Endless Falls” will no doubt be a wise purchase, but it does feel as if the party was over long ago.

Toby Frith


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Efterklang - Magic Chairs | Main | Motor City Drum Ensemble - Raw Cuts Vol 1 »