Review: Jessica Moss – “Entanglement”

The violin can be a beautiful thing and there are surely moments on Entanglement – sound artist/Silver Mt Zion member Jessica Moss’ sophomore outing, out next week via Constellation – that are engaging, even rapturous. But in the end, the new LP is just that and, sadly, that alone: a collection of beautiful moments or asides without the stitches to hold them together and imbibe them with any greater sense of meaning.

Hey, it’s not for lack of trying.

On the first entry in the “Fractals (Truth)” suite, Moss does some amazing things with digital delay, making the ascending scales of strings seem like ribbons floating skyward, as if caught in a tornado’s funnel. But the suite meanders a little too much, and doesn’t land as many heavy hits to the gut as it does slight jabs at the ears. Moss has similar problems with the 21-minute opener “Particles,” which has great moments – listen to that slowly unfolding opening! – but doesn’t merit its running time. There are interesting sounds and textures, sure sure. They just don’t take you anywhere.

Moss is a talented player and collaborator – I need to stress there’s no doubt there – but, as a composer, the pieces (and I use pieces in several iterations of the word) she presents here lack the structure to stand on their own. Much of this echoes the shortcomings of 2017’s Pools of Light, her solo debut. On the new LP, there are beautiful moments where the violin sings or does whimsical things, but, without some larger sense of purpose or modus operandi, it’s all so much writing on the wall.

Post-classical, at its finest, provides some form of commentary or advancement of themes from “traditional” classical music; it, indeed, stands on the shoulders of giants. Moss has the texture and the tone down. She just needs something grander on which to stand. – Justin Vellucci, MusicTAP, Oct. 17, 2019


About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.