April 24, 2024

Jessica Moss – Pools Of Light      is an album set in high and lonesome places

CONSTELLATION RECORDS         5th May 2017


A slightly Middle Eastern collation of lonely notes opens the set on a violin, yet not quite a violin, joined shortly by deeper tones on a cello (perhaps). As befits a leading member of Canadian improv, these noises are mostly an electronically treated violin. A member of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Jessica Moss is steeped in the ideas of atmosphere, of shaping sound, of creating colours and sculptures in time. She describes the piece mostly as a communicative tool and an experience, wanting to reflect her fears of the destruction of our world by environmental damage.

She has made a proper old-school ‘side one’ and ‘side two’ album; the four tracks a side each comprising a suite each. The first, Entire Populations, is slow and steady with the sound of the drawn bow being both itself, pitch-shifted replicas and processed, manipulated otherness. Some sounds are slightly analogue distorted, some twisted. Loops are used and the sad sound of the klezmer. Moss’ voice is haunting on the second track (the rest being instrumental), repeating on itself and leading towards violin tones that remind me of Laurie Anderson, backed with constant descending synth arpeggios – creating a powerful sense of loss that runs through the remainder to the closing track of the side, a pastoral and wistful piece.

Glaciers, on side two, carries flavours of Steve Reich in the repetitive micro-tonal samples and of Ligetti in the high, floating and sawing chorus.  Rich in tone and almost immobile, this is music you can stand and look at. The violin creates a drone, and percussive notes are far enough apart to be long-legged stepping stones from place to place in the structure. A cinematic piece, the two parts of Side Two travel high and lonely country, leading thoughts to rarefied spaces.

A thoughtful album, made with depth and texture prominent, Pools Of Light will take you to new thought-worlds.

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