Loscil’s ambient compositions exist between worlds. Both electronic and naturalistic, drone-based and melodic, rhythmic and adrift, the Vancouver producer’s three-track Strathcona Variations is both placid and filled with dread, a suite of gentle, barely-there compositions whose odd, surreal beauty can’t be underestimated.
Initially, each track on Strathcona Variations appears smooth, a flawless surface whose variations are imperceptibly gradual at best. Closer inspection, though, reveals a world of subtle mood-shifts, distant blips and clicks, and orchestral flourishes disguised as synthesizer tones (and vice versa). Opener “Strathcona” is a fine slice of minimalism, spreading two alternating, undulating organ chords out over eight minutes, adding a miniscule electronic click and a series of room-temp synth passages whose cloud-like interactions become the track’s focus. “Union Dusk” overlays a series of gently stuttering samples and drones, building to a vibraphone-led climax that evokes a tiny, electronic Steve Reich. Closer “Midnight on Princess” has a cinematic lift to its otherwise dirge-like swells of strings and drone. At only three tracks, Loscil’s Strathcona Variations is decidedly brief, but its sense of space and emotion is bottomless.
The serene ambient compositions of Loscil come courtesy of Vancouver-based musician Scott Morgan. Taking his moniker from the “looping oscillator” function in the computer music langua...check out Loscil's page and other releases