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First Narrows

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Album Review

Scott Morgan's — aka Loscil — third full-length is titled for the first gap in the entrance to the Burrard Inlet spanned by the Lion's Gate Bridge into Vancouver, his hometown, from the Pacific Ocean. The title is not an accident, as the notions of gap, time span, and movement in Morgan's new pieces offer a nocturnal view of the transition of fluid inner space. First Narrows also marks a first for Morgan: this is his first collaborative recording with live instruments. Morgan's generated sounds, from varied sources both organic and electronic, both musical and found atmospheres, were custom programmed and processed with the notion of time displacement built in — the programs were designed as "flawed" so that no two performances of his sonic patches would ever be the same. Morgan then asked Jason Zumpano (Rhodes), Nyla Raney (cello), and Tim Loewen (guitar) to improvise over his aural constructions, and then edited and mixed the constructed electronic sounds with the live ones. The end result feels unlike anything he's ever done before, but retains his trademark moodiness — in spades. Pulses and sequences flit by through the middle of washes of white noise and played sound, phrases become long passages and then disappear as gradually as they appeared, channels blend, drop out and shift, giving a form to the formless and then dissembling it into the ether. Over five tracks, this heartbeat ambience and alien soundscape architecture layer, dissemble, stretch, float, commingle, and undulate through the ears of the listener who is, in turn, taken out of her or his own time-space continuum. Spooky, lush, warm, watery, and even moving, First Narrows is a glorious experiment in aural atmospherics.


Born: Canada

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Born in Canada, Scott Morgan apparently appropriated his Loscil alter ego from the operation code within the sound synthesis system Csound. Although he admits he rarely actually uses Csound to create his compelling minimalist recordings, he asserts that looping and oscillating are the basics of his music-making process. Loscil’s debut, Triple Point, was named after the scientific term for the temperature where a material can exist with its solid, liquid, and gas phases all in equilibrium. Based on...
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First Narrows, Loscil
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