Plume, the latest from Vancouver-based Loscil, is adept at shifting into a soothing neutrality. Carefully measured rhythmic loops and discreet
layers of melody twine like smoke, calmly wafting at the brink of
consciousness. Compositions have no beginning or end, but unfold lavishly, with minute details such as
deep, clanging reverberations
or fists of static being absorbed by the massive swirl of nocturnal sound.
Like the cloud formations
after which some songs take their names, these compositions have a blurred quality:
always shifting, growing in density and activity, yet maintaining an
The tracks are at once carefully calibrated and loosely edited. In contrast to his previous Loscil works, Scott Morgan allows the
original cuts to remain as they are, enabling compositions to
unfurl in an organic
manner. Hence while the tracks are not without a certain understated
particularity, transitions never wrestle the listener from woozy slumber.
On xylophone, EBow guitar, and Rhodes piano, Josh Lindstrom, Krista Marshall,
Stephen Wood, and Jason Zumpano improvise over these basic structures, nursing
the underlying dub rhythms into some manner of prominence while at the same time
shrouding their scraggy edges, and
sweltering energy in soft textures. Each player deserves praise for the
manner in which they never float
entirely free of their moorings, but remain in close connection and
communication with the quivering
drones and choruses of sedate vibes. Tracks such as "Steam" manage to
coordinate a subtle variety of
sounds a somber piano refrain glides covertly underneath the ebb and flow
while corkscrewing percussion provides a stable reference point.
Other selections such as "Charlie" and "Chinook" bring more vibrant
colors to the fore,
helping Plume emit a warmth which was largely absent in Morgan's previous works. The former
track is particularly striking, as Wood's vaporous EBow washes over
Lindstrom's flickering vibes arrangement, carrying this rather introverted music into a huge, absorbing, wide-open pasture.