Jessica Moss is a key member of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, contributing remarkable string parts to the whole. With Pools Of Light she steps out as a solo artist. The album, her first full-length solo statement, was recorded by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh of Jerusalem In My Heart, and it positively shimmers with Moss’s rich violin drones and careful composition. Out on Constellation.
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Please rejoice as another member the Silver Mt Zion orchestra releases a solo record in the spirit of terror and joy. Violinist Jessica Moss brings her violins to debut ‘Pools of Light’ and makes me feel crushed by doom from the first moment, her richly ominous playing introducing “Entire Populations” in perhaps the most crushing way you can hear this instrument traditionally performed.
Drawing on elements of folk and more experimental inclinations, this record walks strangely developed rhythms and loops frightening melodies, re-emphasising them with bassier textures or sparser, more desperate squeals. Moss proves how far you can carry one sonic detail, bringing the motif that introduces her record all the way up to chaos before her voice enters the fray with a similar hypnotic warp. Strikingly, it’s her production that gives me the biggest fright, her words dubbed under a lower fidelity broth that makes her shouts and pauses and absent-minded repetitions sound a gust of ice wind.
Some of the idioms on this record reflect Moss’ influences in Klezmer music (following on from her work with the Black Ox Orkestar), with Moss almost taking that Eastern Jewish tradition and putting experimental timestamps on it, doubling down on moments of sound until they’re microscopic. At the other end of proceedings, she creates a constantly active and lush record where stringwork is nearly always at the fore, whether it’s a full-bodied arrangement or a murmuration one can’t help but keep their ear on. I didn’t realise it until I listened to it alone, but this is one intense record. I want to climb a mountain to it.
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