Tuesday, March 2, 2010

loscil: Endless Falls

As you wind your way into the last track on the new loscil album, Endless Falls [Kranky], there is the startling moment when you hear the unexpected voice of Dan Bejar, better known as Destroyer. His voice, even when doing spoken word, is unmistakable, and inexplicably perfect for an ambient electronics record. Bjear's voice is normally one of drama, a synthesis of glam and torch song. On the track "The Making of Grief Point," surrounded by the melancholy of loscil's music, Bejar's voice has the quality of a radio broadcaster from an imaginary world. It is the perfect wrap-up to a haunting record that itself is the music of invented landscapes.

Scott Morgan, the man behind loscil, charts geographies of the unconscious, specifically those aspects of us that continue to feel connected to, or nostalgic for, times and places that don't really exist. It's kind of a magician's feat, to make music that realizes something for us that is wholly new, but is also strangely familiar. There is some Kosmiche here, some Eno. Morgan is working in a tradition, and he is sure and inspired.

Endless Falls eschews noise in favor of of electronic constructions that sound almost natural, and there are sublime moments when you hear what appears to be bells or rain. Even the titles have the quality of a list of odd natural phenomena; "Fern and Robin," "Showers of Ink," "Shallow Water Blackout." Even the synth blips and blurps come from something organic, at least thematically. Everything here just works, and while there are moments when I wanted a few more surprises (such as Dan Bejar), there is every reason to recommend this walk in the electronic dreamtime.

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