Loscil: Sketches From New Brighton (Kranky)
The latest from Loscil is another gorgeous slab of warm ice. I say that because his music tends to be so warm yet so chilly at the same time. He’s been wandering around perhaps the same central core of musical ideas over the span of numerous albums, but each one tends to have its own particular sensibility. If his previous outing Endless Falls was one of his more elegant, gliding statements, Sketches From New Brighton carries with it an insistent pulse. It’s not in the form of the undulating bass kick that’s characterized some of his earliest albums, because most of Sketches is beatless, but there is a keen sense of rhythm nonetheless, with filters and details affecting his delicate synth chords on tracks like “Hastings Sunrise” or the buoyant patterns of “Second Narrows.” Only in the final stretch of the album, starting with “Collision of the Pacific Carrier,” a nervous, twitchy undercurrent about it. Two of my favorites follow; “Cascadia Terminal” shimmers like water in moonlight, while “Fifth Anchor Span” is perhaps the most pronounced and elegant track of the bunch, culminating in a quietly grand swell of low-end bass, vibraphone and reverberated guitar. It is largely this rhythmic filtering of sound that shapes the flow of the album, which is decidedly different from the patient lushness of Endless Falls (I can’t help the comparison, because Endless Falls remains my favorite of his repertoire), but still quite compelling.