So, is Loscil a minimal melodicist or a melodic minimalist? Is the contrast just a matter of vice-versa wordplay, or is there something distinct about someone who keeps melodies threadbare, almost monotone, with an emphasis on repetition, and someone else who employs the tools of minimalism (texture, stasis) but infuses them with a sensibility that’s a stone’s throw from a proper song? It’s no coincidence, for example, that Michael Stipe, of the rock band R.E.M., has listed work by Estonian composer Arvo Part (Tabula Rasa) among his favorites; Stipe falls easily into the former category, while Part occupies the latter. The construction of such a continuum came to mind while listening to four free MP3s by Loscil (aka Scott Morgan, of Vancouver, BC) posted on kranky.net, the website of Kranky Records, which has released three albums by him: First Narrows (2004), Submers (2002) and Triple Point (2001). The cuts, for which there’s little in the way of explanatory text, were taken from a set that Loscil did on Canada’s CBC Radio. They are low-key electronic affairs, more loungey than abstract, with a touch of traditional instrumentation: the layers of elegant guitar that mark “Umbra,” the Chet Atkins-simple line that adorns “Emma,” the mix of stroked six-string and what seems to be electric piano under which “Sickbay” churns along, and “First Narrows,” with the most lonesome guitar part of them all. Check them out on Kranky’s news page, at kranky.net/new.html. And visit Loscil’s website at loscil.com. (There’s a page on CBC’s website, here, with a mention of the session, dated July 6, 2004, plus a pair of photos of Morgan with two other musicians, which explains the tracks’ depth, but there’s not much additional information, and the page’s link to a stream of the performance isn’t functioning.)
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• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0253 / Doorbell Rehab / Record some welcome music. • 0252 / Sonic Palindrome / Make music that sounds the same backwards and forwards. • 0251 / Soothing Sounds for Parents / Remix some music for infants with parents in mind. • 0250 / Soothing Sounds for Junto / Make some peaceful music for an infant child. • 0249 / 80 Phases / Wish the minimalist composer Steve Reich a happy birthday.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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