Review: High Plains – “Pilot Hill”

High Plains today quietly released a follow-up to Cinderland, its brilliant debut and, hands down, one of last year’s best records. But, before you go all googly-eyed on me, take pause – this is not the group’s second LP proper but, instead, the digital release on Bandcamp of a tour-only cassette. And that’s an important…

Review: From The Mouth of The Sun – “Sleep Stations”

A quick and overdue take: Sleep Stations is the best record From The Mouth of The Sun has ever recorded. There, it is said. Released May 18, which seems like an eternity ago, via the always-illuminating Lost Tribe Sound, the Dag Rosenqvist/Aaron Martin post-classical duo’s new record is, yes, short, just 20 minutes in all….

Review: Randall Holt – “Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness”

The cello weeps and sows and soars, and so it goes with Randall Holt and his Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness, which gets the CD/cassette re-release treatment April 20 from Self Sabotage Records. Holt, an accomplished cellist, traffics in the kind of moody, cinematic, classical soundscapes that oft define Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which…

Justin Vellucci’s Year-Ending Top Ten: 2017 Edition

Yeah, yeah, putting the final nail in the coffin of 2017 is a little premature, seeing as there’s still more than 30 days left in the year. But, I’m the music writer compiling this list, so, here you go. It was an interesting year in underground music and, rather than present a conventional Top Ten,…

REVIEW: Alder & Ash – “Clutched In The Maw of the World”

The cello flirts lovingly with you, then roars and lunges forward, bearing its teeth. The composition in question is “A Seat Amongst God and His Children,” the second song and most transfixing moment on Montreal artist Alder & Ash’s sophomore release, the appropriately titled Clutched In The Maw of the World, out July 28 on Lost Tribe Sound. It starts…

REVIEW: The Greatest Hoax – “Expiration Compositions”

Expiration Compositions – the sophomore outing by composer Taylor Jordan, a.k.a. The Greatest Hoax – is a perfectly okay record. The synth work is nuanced and studied and, for the most part, admirable, though I’m unsure if it lives up to its High Art premise about scoring the art of dying. And cellist Mark Bridges,…

PROFILE: High Plains (2017)

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Cinderland — the debut LP from Scott Morgan and Mark Bridges, the duo known as High Plains — is a serious early contender for year-end Top Ten lists. It is elegiac and nuanced stuff, at once dreamy and funereal; the record just ebbs and flows from your turntable…

REVIEW: High Plains – “Cinderland”

Soundscape master Scott Morgan (better known by his working name, Loscil) and the cellist Mark Bridges have birthed and produced, as the duo High Plains, a debut record of trembling, authentic majesty, and critics will be left puzzled with ways to describe the riveting tones and shuddering beauty of their collaboration. It’s just that good: Top 10 year-ending lists…

REVIEW: Loscil – “Monument Builders”

A melancholy pall hangs over much of Loscil’s Monument Builders, a mysterious little nugget of an LP out since November on Kranky Records. Musician’s musician (and sole “band” member) Scott Morgan’s successor to 2014’s Sea Island sounds far grayer and more saturated in sadness than its predecessor and, for a miserable bastard like me, that’s…