Canadian composer Scott Morgan’s 12th long-player as loscil takes its title from an influential series of early 20th century photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, abstracting clouds into miasmic, painterly canvases of smoke and shadowplay. It’s a deeply fitting analog for Morgan’s own musical process across the past two decades, fraying forms and tones into widescreen mirages of opaque texture and negative space. The name Equivalents referred to Stieglitz’s notion of the photographs as being equivalent to his “philosophical or emotional states of mind;” the same could be said of these eight weighty, shivering chiaroscuros of sound. Each piece unfolds and evolves enigmatically, adrift in low oxygen atmospheres, shifting dramatically from pockets of density to dissipated streaks of moonlit vapor. The entirety of the record was created specifically for the album with the exception of “Equivalent 7,” which began as a dance score for frequent collaborator Vanessa Goodman. The album version of this track was reworked with Vancouver musician Amir Abbey aka Secret Pyramid. Cloud photographs taken by Scott Morgan at various locations throughout Cascadia in 2018.
Scott Morgan’s second Loscil full-length, Submers, took inspiration from salvaged Time Life classical music albums and “the indelible mystery of submarines and the deep sea.” Composed using a custom-built Max / MSP sequencer—with no external samplers, synthesizers, or acoustic instruments involved—the limitations of the process shaped these masterful, minimal compositions. Each piece was produced as a live mix, direct to disk, with no separated tracks. Originally issued in November of 2002 on compact disc, Kranky is now making these timeless recordings available on vinyl for the first time. All of these tracks are named after submarines, the final cut being a requiem for the crew of the ill fated Russian nuclear vessel Kursk. Recorded at home using only samples as sound sources, the album is rife with sourceless echoes, steely surfaces and ominous melodic and rhythmic undertows. The sifted melodies are layered over muffled, clicking and pulsing rhythm tracks with an appropriately aquatic feel to the tracks.
2017 release on Kranky.
High Plains is the duo of Scott Morgan and Mark Bridges. Morgan, based in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, is predominantly known for his drifting, textured soundscapes released under the pseudonym Loscil. Bridges is an accomplished, classically-trained cellist residing in Madison, Wisconsin. The two met in Banff, Alberta while they were simultaneously there on residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2014.
Double vinyl LP pressing of this 2004 album including one bonus track. Warm, fuzzy, blurred electronics using real instruments and improvised performances from other musicians such as Jason Zumpano (Zumpano) and Tim Loewen (Destroyer). First Narrows is the third Loscil album and the first where Scott Morgan uses real instruments and input from other musicians. Sound sources ranged from sampled instruments to miscellaneous lo-fi mini-cassette recordings with Morgan generating music on computer by custom programming sequencing and processing designed so that no two performances of the patches would be exactly the same. In turn, Jason Zumpano on fender rhodes piano, Tim Loewen on guitar and Nyla Rany on cello improvise over the electronic sequences. Morgan then edited and mixed the live and premixed sections together.
Monument Builders is the 2016 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 color. According to Morgan, the genesis for the album may have begun as he viewed an old VHS copy of the American experimental film Koyaanisqatsi. “Something about the time-tarnished visuals and the pitch warble on Philip Glass’s epic score added a new layer of intrigue for me,” says Morgan. “Glass has always been an influence but lo-fi Glass felt like a minor revelation, as if the decay was actually enhancing the impact of the film’s message.” The investigations on Monument Builders also took inspiration from the anti-humanist writings of influential philosopher John Gray, as well as photographer Edward Burtynsky’s iconic aerial photographs of pollution and environmental destruction.