Artist: loscil
Album: Submers

Label: Kranky

Submers collects nine suprisingly listenable tracks by loscil (aka Scott Morgan) in the emerging style of blip hop, click pop - music produced with a laptop. Rising and falling detuned drones surround looping beats - multi-layered, added and subtracted at will. loscil's music glorifies (or at least embraces) the glitches and sounds previously discarded by past generations of electronic musicians. Thuds, crunches and distortions usually edited out of sounds are the foundation of this music. The cyclical nature of the rhythms calls to mind wheels spinning, gears turning, valves opening, steam venting, machinery throbbing. This music is not linear, it travels less out along a timeline than it does in an irregular sphere around a core - which in this case is loscil.

Although this music may be recognized as an original and new component of Electronic Music, Submers does bare some resemblance to its predecessesors in ambient, techno, dub and even the Dusseldorf scene of the '70s. The track "Triton" is the most energetic, due less to its bouncing beats than to its frequent harmonic shifts and bright recurring themes. "Argonaut I" also captures a sense of mechanical motion as the piece marches in place in an emission of energy and light. And the rubber bassline and pumping clatter of "Le Plangeur" is our closest approach to the edge of loscil's clean-room confines. But the mood of this album actually gravitates more toward the dark and somber. The piece "Mute 3" is intense and dark, driven by the steady rumbling of a muted bass drum and the greater theories behind repetition and variation. Tense rhythms, grey tones and crackling accents on "Gymnote" cool the listener to beyond safe levels. The elegiacal "Kursk" kindly closes the album with its comforting pads, breathing tones and ticking pulse. For this artist, music expands and contracts to provide atmosphere and a sense of location. On Submers, loscil realizes music which evokes a mood beyond the range of well ordered notes.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   27 November 2002

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