Equivalents by Loscil

loscil | Equivalents
Kranky (2xLP/CD/DL)

One of my most important role models growing up was none other than Alfred Stieglitz. Not only was he an incredible photographer, but also a curator, and for many years I too, as a photographic artist dabbled in the medium (of curation). The man laid so much groundwork for conceptual photography with his incredible norm-breaking Equivalents series (1925-34), which this record is based upon. Furthermore, my “big science project” in middle school was on cloud formations: cumulus, cirrus, etc. I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Morgan (loscil) way back in 2005, and since this is not about me, it’s become a great opportunity to catch up with his latest work. It’s hard to believe, but true that this is the man’s twelfth full-length, and likely his most seditious ambient ever.

In the same way clouds are formless as they drift and morph, Morgan’s sound embodies every bit of atmosphere in its wake. The drone here, rather than simply floating in space, does that, but also grows, and shrinks, in altogether unexpected patterns – as it seeps into your pores. It’s like you are having a dream and part of the plot keeps skipping and returning to a former spot on a previous timeloop. At times the mind drifts in the way the white fluffy forms separate and cluster.

The drone, in a shadowy veneer of subtle grey tones, is a quintessential base in most of loscil’s sound, but here there’s more about absence, of getting to the essence. In this homage to an artist who looked to the skies to identify strands of meteorological events, the edgelessness of time and space meet. Call it serendipity, or doo-dah, but I suggest allowing his signature drone to wash over you without uttering a word.

Clouds, as such, these suspended particles and their pure aura may seem peculiar from the distance of 20K feet, especially in their non-detailed condition, sometimes appearing like flames, or cotton candy at a scant glance (or given moment) — yet, the imagination can easily be charmed by their endless balance of in/visibility. One may perhaps instead altogether forsee tales about passing time in the oblique stillness of said clouds – as if a higher power of some sort is sending a subliminal, encoded message. This is Morgan’s most evocative effort since his 2006 effort Plume (Kranky) which was his most stunning work, until now.

Equivalents is not at all “about” clouds. Instead, this is one big grande nod to the act of observation in and of itself. Exhilarating!

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