June 18, 2024

loscil – “Equivalents” – an album that contains a whole other world

KRANKY                                               16 August 2019

I hear the jerky staccato application of disc brakes on a train rolling across a high, smooth glacier. The remoteness lets the percussive on/off sounds permeate. That high, cold environment shifts as the intrusive sound shifts to a sonic shoulder-rub and slow, icy waves ripple through. At times I think of the textured slow flow of seventies Tangerine Dream but the electronics here feel more organic.

Clouds move by but, from within, as we are sometimes, here, they are shifting densities of water vapour, allowing clearer or more obscured views. Droplets of water condense into sound and distant shapes appear to move as the cloud moves across. All is nearly still, only gently moving.

Oppressive clouds move in and darkness spreads slowly. The threat disappears and is replaced by a wall of blankness. The pace picks up a little, to more than standstill, and micro-arpeggios buzz like midges in the ear. Before you know it, dark has risen like a wall and the night is on us. The sounds continues on and details are so minimal as to stand out clear in their sparseness.

Based on a set of miasmic photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, Canadian composer Scott Morgan’s album as loscil is remarkable. The textures here are palpable and the overall effect a synthetic world with organic and electronic sounds brought together into a shifting sonic sculpture. It is ambient and environmental and full of the feeling of place. An immersive experience for headphones.

You may want to check out our review of loscil’s previous album, Monument Builders, here:

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