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loscil - Endless Falls
One of Kranky's longest standing artists, Scott Morgan returns for a fifth album for the label, and it's quite superb, even by Loscil's already high standards. Regular Kranky followers will no doubt find themselves suitably bewitched, but this music's equally likely to appeal to followers of BJ Nilsen, Stephan Mathieu, Kyle Bobby Dunn and Celer. Endless Falls is bookended by recordings of rainfall, something which mirrors the droplet-obscured sleeve. This sort of imagery is a handy visual metaphor for ambient music of this variety: in the photograph a form of interference displaces the content of the picture as its true subject, and so it goes in Loscil's music. While Morgan's string sections and looping melodic gestures make up the fabric of these recordings it's the muffling and masking of them that draws the true beauty out of this music. 'Estuarine's minimal and plaintive piano phrases wouldn't be nearly so alluring were they not partially hidden away from you, and the stretched-out violins of the title track only function as beautifully as they do because they're cradled by a low, warm hum of filtered out, ambient sound matter. Rather than merely revelling in protracted linear drone exercises, Morgan latches his music to subtle rhythmic elements throughout the album, most prominently highlighted by 'Dub For Cascadia' - whose melancholy chord surges, crackling waves of static and contoured bass throbs sound like Stars Of The Lid playing along to something from the first three Pole albums. It's difficult to contemplate such a thing, but Endless Falls might be that rarest of things: an album whose best track is a spoken-word piece. In this case Destroyer's Daniel Bejar takes to the mic for the nine-minute closing piece. 'The Making Of Grief Point' is nine minutes of dramatically-charged, glitching, Biosphere-like drone, spun from downplayed neo-classical instrumentation and filtered loops, all accompanying Bejar's typically elliptical, digression-prone and fractured lyrics. Wonderful stuff throughout - highly recommended.