Live Loscil MP3s

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, 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 And visit Loscil’s website at (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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