REVIEW: Demen – “Nektyr”

The opening track – fragile and damaged, haunted and haunting – is so, so, so good, all lulling, breathy vocals, skittering drums and imprecise synth sounds. But Nektyr, Demen’s debut on Kranky, out Friday, is pretty much downhill from there. It isn’t that the music oblique that songwriter Irma Orm conjures is flawed. Sometimes, the…

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: Anjou – “Epithymia”

It’s tough to pin down and make any kind of broad-stroke judgments about Epithymia, the second LP by ambient power duo Anjou. I’m using the term “power” duo, of course, lightly – maybe even with a trace of sarcasm – as there’s very little thrust or vim and vigor to the new record, out a…

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…

PROFILE: Rachel Grimes

Rachel Grimes knew how to play the piano before she learned to walk. “My dad and grandmother played, so I was always sitting beside them following along, watching and listening in wonder at how they could make that magic,” the composer/pianist told me recently from the home she and her husband, educator Alec Johnson, share…

REVIEW: Loscil – “Sea Island”

I’m starting to become convinced that you haven’t heard a pulse dissolve or a measure replicate off-time quite right until you’ve heard Loscil, which, appropriately, if true, took its name from the “looping oscillator” function in the program Csound. Scott Morgan, the man at the helm of this fine Kranky act from Vancouver, weaves atmospheric,…