Release Date: Mar 2, 2010
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Electronic, Experimental, Techno
Endless Falls, Scott Morgan’s first Loscil album since 2006’s Plume, reveals that while the producer’s approach has remained basically the same since Triple Point, he develops new dimensions with each release. As with his previous work, the album’s pieces are focused around a central theme -- and Endless Falls’ main motif is especially apt for an ambient artist. Morgan was inspired by the rain that washes over his home base of Vancouver, and field recordings of storms that he made in his backyard flow in and out of nearly every track here.
Scott Morgan is one of those rare musicians who fully grasps the notion that it’s as much about what you don’t play as what you do. This is his fifth album as Loscil, which continues to plunder the same vein of chilly ambient electronica as his previous efforts. This is music designed to be played loud, preferably with ears hermetically sealed in high quality headphones, so listeners can really submerge themselves in all the subtle textures and nuances of Morgan’s recordings.
The music of Loscil, who is Vancouver’s Scott Morgan (when he’s not drumming for Destroyer) tends to have a heavy conceptual bent. If he’s not making albums about thermodynamics or submarines, he’s releasing a compilation of background drones from his other records or making another one about steam. None of this is bad. The reason people listen to and like Morgan’s music comes down to what they hear and not how they theorize, and working in such a relatively nebulous field means it’s understandable that Morgan might want to employ various organizing principles.
You could reasonably argue that all ambient music seeks in some way to lull its listener into a meditative haze, and some artists pursue this feeling more directly than others. Scott Morgan is one of those guys. Unlike Tim Hecker or Pantha du Prince, who draw from more intricate arrangements, Morgan lays his sounds bare and lets them go right to work.
So, in a routine relative-popularity scan of Last.fm, I learned that Loscil has more listeners than ambient-deity-by-consensus William Basinski. Meanwhile, Endless Falls — Loscil’s first album in four years — floats by its official release date with barely an inclined head from the press. This, even with a guest vocal spot from Dan Bejar, a name that single-handedly evokes hype-fueled indiecest rings if there ever were one.
Under the name Loscil, Scott Morgan has spent the last ten years exploring the borderlands between ambient and ambient techno, never quite falling all the way into one or the other. Over the course of his first four full-lengths, he consistently found a place where melody, sonic motion, and glitchy, barely-there rhythms coexisted, bouncing and rotating around each other in patterns reminiscent of dub, but with a bit more forward thrust. His 2002 album, Submers, was a conceptually perfect study of deep, sub-aquatic environments.