Review: Saleeha – “Come Wander Through The Pale Dark”

As Saleeha, the Australian-born, Vancouver-based Max Buchanan makes meditative, slowly unfurling soundscapes that, surprisingly enough, do not echo or mime fellow Vancouver-based ambient artist Loscil. I say surprisingly because, as ambient music goes, the five tracks on Saleeha’s new Come Wander Through The Pale Dark have a similar mission to Loscil: namely, painting narratives with…

Review: Souns – “Aquamarine”

Michael Red continues to distance himself from the dance-conscious work associated with his name through Souns, an experimental/ambient project whose Aquamarine LP was released by Subtempo Records late last week. Aquamarine, in its finer moments, calls to mind the work of Loscil’s Scott Morgan, but that contrast does more to hurt than to help it….

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: The Seven Fields of Aphelion – “Keep The Ocean Inside”

Dreamy, ethereal, other-worldly – all could be used to describe Keep The Ocean Inside, Pittsburgher Maureen “Maux” Boyle’s engaging sophomore outing as The Seven Fields of Aphelion and her first since 2010’s Periphery. A San Diego musician I once interviewed called composer Harry Partch’s work a kind of Martian folk music; Boyle’s signature brand of ambient-classical also fits the…

REVIEW: Loscil – “Suns” EP

The songs are sparse exercises in stoicism at times, but – like most Loscil recordings, it seems –  there’s a lot percolating beneath the surface. Perhaps less than usual – but still a lot. That appears to be the verdict for Loscil’s Suns, a five-track, 30-minute EP that ruminates on and explores some of the…

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…

REVIEW: Rachel Grimes – “The Clearing”

There is a whisper, a scattering of whispers, a whole orchestrated evening of whispers – a subdued kind of wonder and majesty to it all. But even though only her name appears on the product these days, she never walks these woods alone. Temporary Residence Records yesterday released The Clearing, Louisville-based composer/pianist Rachel Grimes’ second…

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,…