Collaborative project between classically trained cellist Mark Bridges and Scott Morgan (probably better known as his solo moniker Loscil or as the drummer and saxophonist for Destroyer). Since working together on an endless generative music app in 2015 a future project was looming, in the form of High Plains, 9 tracks of low level neo-classical pieces blending cello, electronics and field recordings.
Vinyl LP £20.99 KRANK206LP
LP on Kranky.
- Shipping cost: £3.35 ?
CD £13.99 KRANK206
CD on Kranky.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
The office ambience is pretty chilled at the moment (following the drumming-and-mallet fest of a famous YouTube Japanese-ambient-classic vinyl reissue assaulting the workers’ ears early this morning). I thought I’d grab this window of opportunity to review something altogether more soothingly stringed and brooding. It’s the highly atmospheric newie from High Plains, who are Mark Bridges and Scott Morgan aka Loscil of course.
Mark and Scott combine their talents in the most luxuriously sumptuous way on this CD and vinyl offering from Kranky. Mark with his lyrically woeful cello, wringing out the life-affirming timbres like it ain’t no thang; Scott with his typically soft, downy and organic-sounding electronics. By track 3 -- the stunningly gorgeous ‘The Dusk Pines’ -- their brand of relaxo-drone is going down very nicely with my post-lunch cup of camomile tea (I’ve had way too much coffee today already) and I’m dreaming of getting lost up on Otley Chevin. But wait! There are moments of alarming drama: on ‘The White Truck’, Scott gets busy with the button marked ‘LOUD BLAST of NOISE!’ Shit, I really didn’t see that coming.
Maybe it’s about time I wound up this review with a pithy soundbite: A soft, slow massage for your ears... But don’t get all nonchalantly complacent. Or *too* relaxed.
7/10 David 7th April 2017
I'm a big fan of Loscil, and have been looking forward to this release since I saw it announced last December.
The mix of the cello and electronics works well. It's more airy and has a lot more space than some of the other cello-based stuff that Kranky put out, or that the Godspeed offshoots have produced, but still with a more distinct beat than the "Stars of the Lid" style-ambient. There is the NOISY bit too, but it's mostly dreamy.
My main problem with the record is that a lot of the tracks feel underdeveloped - especially at the start of the record. Not exactly unfinished, but like they haven't quite been given enough time to explore the themes. Compared to Monument Builders, for example, these tracks fails to make an impression, and, whilst far from repellent, it doesn't make you feel like you need to put it on again immediately.
So, whilst it's listenable, I was a bit disappointed with the record, but I did have high expectations.
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