Release Date: Mar 10, 2017
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Pop/Rock, Experimental Ambient
High Plains is the name of a collaboration between Scott Morgan (loscil) and Mark Bridges, an ambient soundscape artist and a classically trained cellist, respectively. It also describes the locale -- Saratoga, Wyoming -- that they drew influence from, and wrote and recorded in. There are even some field recordings from the area blended in with the cello, piano and electronic textures. This sparse but dirge-like music on their latest full-length, Cinderland, evokes the desolate winters of the Midwestern plains from whence it came, seemingly reminding us of nature's indifference towards humanity.
Cinderland is the first collaboration between ambient producer Scott Morgan (Loscil) and classically trained cellist Mark Bridges under the name High Plains, although Bridges had previously contributed to Morgan's generative music app Adrift. The duo recorded the album in the small town of Saratoga, Wyoming at the beginning of 2016, where they brought a portable recording studio, took up residence in a revamped school house, and captured sounds from the surrounding environment. The music is appropriately sparse and wintry, and bears little resemblance to the shimmering, submerged dub-techno usually associated with Loscil.
Saratoga, Wyoming, is perched nearly 6,800 feet up in the Rocky Mountains a bit north of the border with Colorado. It is something of a midway point between Wisconsin, where cellist Bridges resides, and British Columbia, where Morgan, who makes experimental electronic music as Loscil , hails from. That's a lot of geography, but Cinderland is an album that draws from and means to evoke the landscapes in which it was born.
Music can be heavily attached to place. Most music is in some way. It's hard to deny that 1970s New York punk would exist without the seedy drug culture and the dirty, dingy apartments and clubs that housed the bands. The feelings evoked by a place are ingested, digested, and then projected as art, and in this case music.